Raisins are a dried grape. Raisins are produced in many regions of the world and may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking, and brewing. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, the word “raisin” is reserved for the dark-coloured dried large grape, with “sultana” being a golden-coloured dried grape, and “currant” being a dried small Black Corinth seedless grape.
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 (the common American type is known as Thompson Seedless in the USA), the Greek currants (black corinthian raisins, Vitis vinifera L. var. Apyrena) and Flame grapes. Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but may also be water-dipped and artificially dehydrated.
“Golden raisins” are treated with sulfur dioxide after drying to give them their golden color.
Black Corinth or Zante currant are miniature, sometimes seedless raisins that are much darker and have a tart, tangy flavor. They are often called currants. Muscat raisins are large compared to other varieties, and also sweeter.
Several varieties of raisins produced in Asia are available in the West only at ethnic grocers. Monukka grapes are used for some of these.
Raisins can contain up to 72% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose and glucose. They also contain about 3% protein and 3.7%–6.8% 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.
Data presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session in 2012 suggest that, among individuals with mild increases in blood pressure, the routine consumption of raisins (three times a day) may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks.
LINKS TO WEBSITES ABOUT RAISINS