Mysteries of the Raisin
Did you know? Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be water-dipped, or dehydrated. “Golden raisins” are made from sultanas, treated with sulfur dioxide (SO2), and flame-dried to give them their characteristic color.
- Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used, and are made in a variety of sizes and colors including green, black, blue, purple, and yellow.
- Seedless varieties include the sultana (also known as Thompson Seedless in the USA) and Flame grapes.
- A particular variety of seedless grape, the Black Corinth, is also sun-dried to produce Zante currants, miniature raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavor.
- Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and, in the West, are only available at ethnic specialty grocers. Green raisins are produced in Iran.
- Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing.
- In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada the word “raisin” is reserved for the dried large dark grape, with “sultana” being a dried large white grape, and “currant” being a dried small Black Corinth grape.
- Raisins range from about 67% to 72% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose and glucose.
- They also contain about 3% protein and 3.5% dietary fiber.
- Raisins, like prunes and apricots, are also high in certain antioxidants, but have a lower vitamin C content than fresh grapes.
- Raisins are low in sodium and contain no cholesterol.
- New research has shown, despite having a high concentration of sugars, raisins fight bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum disease.