Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Keshmesh: Persian Green Raisins

In the United States, most consumers are familiar with store-boughtraisins. Thompson, Flame and Golden varieties line supermarket shelves, each bearing little flavor semblance to fresh fruit of the vine. This is not characteristic of the delicate savor of Iranian green raisins, known as keshmesh in Farsi. In fact, keshmesh have a taste that is quite unique in the raisin world…

At first glance, the taut skins on keshmesh resemble the pruned fingertips of an ancient kitchen matriarch. This dry appearance is culinary camouflage for a raisin that truly tastes like a grape. Though golden raisins are brighter and somewhat citrus-like in their flavor profile when compared to their dark cousins, they are sweeter and somewhat cloying in comparison to green raisins.

Highly concentrated, like all dried fruits, keshmesh strike the palate with a trinity of flavors; pineapple, lemon and a nutmeg-tinged green apple to be precise. Even the sound they make when poured into a dish draws the attention as they delicately ping against the bowl like small hollow stones.

Sinha Trading Company, located in New York City, carries the tastiest keshmesh in Curry Hill. The store directly imports raisins from Iran and their stock bears a lower incidence of blemishes and inconsistencies in color and flavor. In addition, the green raisins are packaged in 1lb. bags which are preferable to bulk bins that continuously expose the raisins to oxidation and the occasional greedy hand.

Keshmesh are great by themselves, as an accompaniment to pistachios or added to oatmeal and cooked rice dishes. They are less sweet than traditional raisins, so dole out a generous helping.


Sinha Trading Company is located at 121 Lexington Avenue, in New York City. The store is located in “Curry Hill,” a neighborhood which is home to a variety of Indian restaurants and storefronts. Curry Hill extends from 27th to 30th Street on Lexington Avenue. It is easily accessed via the #6 train, which conveniently stops on 28th Street. 212-683-4419

Photo of green raisins from Alibaba.