What are raisins?Raisins are simply dried sweet grapes, of course. Until medieval times, raisins were the second in choice as a sweetener, honey being the top choice. At one time in ancient Rome, raisins were considered so valuable that two jars could buy a slave. In the 13th century, Damascus had quite a reputation for their sweet raisins.
The majority of the world's supply of raisins comes from California, dried from Thompson seedless (95 percent), muscadine, or Black Corinth (Zante) grapes. In 1873, California suffered a devastating drought which literally dried the grapes on the vine. Looking to recoup some of the grape crop, an enterprising marketer in San Francisco sold the dried and shriveled grapes as "Peruvian Delicacies," and the California raisin industry was off and running.
Most raisins are dried naturally by the sun right in the vineyards, although some are mechanically dehydrated. Once sun-dried, a process taking two to four weeks, they are then graded, cleaned, and packed. Some raisins are kept golden in color by the use of sulfur dioxide (sulfites).
More about Raisins:• Raisin Tips and Hints
• Raisin Varieties
• Raisin Selection and Storage
• What are raisins? Raisin History
• Raisin Recipes
Raisins and Grapes Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
|•||Chez Panisse Fruit|
|•||Local Flavors : Cooking and Eating from America's Farmer's Markets|
|•||The Farmer's Wife Guide to Fabulous Fruits and Berries|
|•||Stone Fruit: Cherries, Nectarines, Apricots, Plums, Peaches|