Shortage of Christmas raisins

With Christmas just around the corner, a worldwide shortage of sticky raisins could mean less Christmas cake to go around.

The Lexia raisin is the most sought after dried fruit at the moment.

"There is a worldwide shortage mainly due to wine production in Australia," says Heather Howatt, owner of Nature's Harvest in Prince Edward Island.

Instead of using its grapes for raisin production, Australia has been re-directing its harvest towards wine production. Lexia grapes are used to make sweet, white wine.

Lexia raisins are used in certain baked goods, such as plum pudding, because they are fleshy, sweet, and have a fine flavour. They are also grown in California, Spain and Portugal.

Howatt says some bakers are now scrambling to find a source for their baked goodies.

"Some people would call it a crisis."

Howatt has found an exporter and says the sticky raisins are in customs at Vancouver's port. She hopes to have them in a few days so she can get them to bakers.

Bakers do have an alternative: making their own sticky raisins.

Cindy Preston says modifications can be made to the Thompson raisin.

"You have to soak your Thompson raisins in hot water and then you add a little bit of sugar to them and plump them get the sticky consistency you can add a bit of the pineapple."

Preston says she'll do anything to save her Christmas pudding.

"I'm going to start baking next week."