A raisin is 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, Australia, and Canada 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 grape.
The word raisin dates back to Middle English and is a loanword from Old French; in French, raisin means "grape", while a dried grape is referred to as a raisin sec, or "dry grape". The Old French word in turn developed from the Latin word racemus, "a bunch of grapes"
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. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be water-dipped, or dehydrated. "Golden raisins" (called "Sultanas" outside the USA) are made from sultana, treated with drying oil to aid in developing their golden colour, and dried either on the vine or on special drying racks. Certain varieties of red seedless grapes, such as Black Corinth or Zante currant , are also sun-dried to produce currants, miniature raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavor. Several varieties of raisins produced in Asia are available in the West only at ethnic specialty grocers.
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 data 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, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session.Read More