What are raisins?

Raisins are available in different colors and varieties such as yellow, purple, or brown which are nothing but the grapes dried in direct sunlight or using machines. Most of the raisins are produced from Thompson grapes (seedless).

The selected grapes are spread on craft paper trays and dried in the sun after harvesting. 

The sugar in the grapes is oxidized and caramelized that gives a natural dark black to brown skin to the raisins.

Mostly, the traditional sundry procedure is being carried out, but there is another other process called artificial dehydration also followed. Both the drying processes preserve and keep the antioxidants of dried fruit.

In addition to brown raisins, we also consume golden raisins and sultanas. Among the varieties, golden raisins are having a high concentration of antioxidants and phenolic content.

Sultanas are a popular raisin variety in Europe, which is harvested from Golden green grapes that are native to Turkey. Sultanas are small and sweeter than raisins.

Muscat raisins are the largest and sweetest while Currants are small and have tangy flavor, which is derived from Black seedless grapes.

However, all the Raisin varieties are sweet and chewy in texture. These are often used as toppings for salads, mixed in oatmeal, served with yogurt, added in breakfast cereals, included in baked food items like cakes, cookies, bread, muffins, and so on.

These small-sized dried fruits can offer tremendous energy and boost to our body and mind with their high concentration of fiber, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other assorted nutrients.

Raisins are a source of sugar and calories yet these are beneficial in various health conditions when consumed in moderation. Raisins can treat digestion problems, improve iron levels, strengthen bones, and do much more for our health.

Types of Raisins

Raisins are varied based on the grapes they are dried from. The three most common grape types used for producing raisins are:

Most of the raisins types consist of antioxidants and an organic mineral called boron that improves bone health. Raisins can be stored for a long time. Let’s see some of the popular raisin types.

1. Thompson Raisins

Thompson raisins are the most commonly dark brown raisins used in the U.S., which are harvested from Thompson green grapes. These seedless raisins are the typical raisin variety available in marketplaces in the U.S, according to the Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey.

The grapes are in pale green which is converted to dark brown because of oxidation and caramelization of sugar content during the drying process. This type of raisins is highly used in cooking, baking, and as snacks.

2. Sultanas

Sultanas are also made from green Thompson grapes but these are dehydrated in different ways. Before the drying process, the grapes are soaked in potassium carbonate, essential oil, and water where the grapes are treated well. The soaking process speeds up the drying phase.

Thompson raisins are dried in the sun for a long time so they get a light color. Sometimes, the raisins are cleaned with bleach to enhance the color. Sultanas can be eaten raw and by adding to baked foods.

3. Golden Raisins

Golden raisins are also prepared from the green Thompson grapes, where the grapes are treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent the change of color while drying. These rains are dried along with synthetic heat for a long time. This long dry-out process results in a high sweet and fat content.

Natural golden raisins are different from the above. These golden raisins are eaten raw or used in cooking.

4. Currants

Currants are derived from Corinth grapes, which are like buffy berries. The raisins dried out from these grapes are one-fifth of the usual raisin type.

Currants are the darkest colored raisin variety which has a deep sour taste. During the drying process, the seeds are removed unlike some of the other common raisin types. The major use of currants is in cooking.

5. Muscats

Muscat raisins are from Alexandria grapes, which are bigger and darker than usual raisins. Muscat raisins taste extremely sweet. The seeds are mostly removed before the drying phase. In the U.S and other parts, this raisin type is available in the fall and winter seasons. The major use of muscat raisins is in baking.

6. Flame Raisins

Flame seedless raisins are bigger and have a very deep red color and extreme sweetness. More often used in baking.

Common Names of Raisins

  • Botanical Name: Vitis vinifera
  • English Name: Raisins, Sultanas, Currants
  • Tamil Name: உலர் திராட்சை
  • Malayalam Name: ഉണങ്ങിയ മുന്തിരി
  • Telugu Name: ఎండిన ద్రాక్ష
  • Kannada Name: ಒಣಗಿದ ದ್ರಾಕ್ಷಿಗಳು
  • Hindi Name: सूख गए अंगूर
  • Marathi Name: वाळलेल्या द्राक्षे
  • Gujarati Name: સૂકા દ્રાક્ષ
  • Punjabi Name: ਸੁੱਕੇ ਅੰਗੂਰ
  • Bengali Name: শুকনো আঙ্গুর
  • Urdu Name: خشک انگور

15 Health Benefits of Raisins

health-benefits-of-raisins

  1. Aid in Digestion

The soluble fiber in the raisins helps keep the digestive system healthy. The fiber provides bulk to the stool so that it can travel easily through the intestinal system.

This soluble fiber in the raisins also provides a laxative effect and relieves constipation. You can also eat raisins regularly to maintain bowel movements and remove toxins from the body.

  1. Prevent Anemia

Regular intake of raisins may prevent anemia. The rich amount of copper, iron and assorted vitamins like B-complex in the dry fruit are important for increasing red blood cells and passing enough oxygen to and from the organs.

  1. Prevent Acidity

Potassium and magnesium in raisins help lower the acidity and keep the toxins from the body, by this way it prevents various diseases like kidney stones, arthritis, and various heart ailments.

  1. Lowers Heart Diseases Risks

A study published on Postgraduate Medicine declared that regular consumption of raisins may aid in lowering the risks of heart failures and other ailments such as high blood pressure. The low source of sodium is the main reason for this, additionally, the high amount of potassium helps to relax the blood vessels.

  1. Fights Against Cancer

Raisins contain a rich amount of antioxidant compounds.

We need dietary antioxidants like Catechin in our body to prevent oxidative damage and remove free radicals. These two are critical risk factors that can cause cancer, tumor, and aging.

  1. Protect Eye Health

The powerful antioxidants called polyphenols are high in raisins, which may protect the eye cells from oxidative stress due to free radicals. In this way, raisins are helping in eye health and prevent eye disorders. Also, the contents like vitamin A, beta carotene, and A-Carotenoid in raisins are good for eye health.

  1. Improve Skin Health

The antioxidants in the raisins help keep the skin fresh and young. It helps to remove the free radicals and prevent oxidative stress and cell damage. Additionally, nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin C in the raisins benefit skin health.

  1. Lower blood sugar

A medical study showed that regular consumption of raisins may help to reduce the sugar in the blood than any other processed snacks. Despite the fact that raisins are rich in sugar than fresh fruits, eating raisins regularly decreases hemoglobin a1c which is the main concentration of blood sugar.

  1. Help Treat Infections

Raisins have polyphenolic phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant riched. The antibacterial properties of the raisins reduce the chances of fever and kill bad bacterias. So, it prevents colds and other infections.

  1. For Your Mouth And Dental Care

Raisins have phytochemicals, where oleanolic acid is one of the essential for dental health. It prevents decay and cavities. The antibacterial properties of raisins kill bacteria in the mouth and help have good-shaped teeth. Calcium in the raisins keeps the teeth safe and prevents breakage.

  1. For Your Weight Management

If you are trying to gain weight, eating raisins on a regular basis would help you. As they are rich in glucose and fructose, you get a load of energy from them. The best part is the raisins help you gain weight without increasing bad cholesterol.

  1. For Good Bones

There is a good amount of Calcium in raisins that benefits bone health. It prevents gout and arthritis. 

  1. Prevent constipation

Raisins contain fiber which helps to move the food in the intestinal tract and add bulk to the food so you will be free from constipation. It also helps to prevent loose stools and absorb liquid. 

  1. Lower inflammation

Raisins contain antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. A study cleared that eating raisins benefit gastric inflammatory diseases.

  1. Lowers High Blood Pressure

Raisins may reduce blood pressure and keep the heart-healthy. A sturdy had a positive result on eating raisins regularly for reducing hypertension. The potassium content in raisins lowers tension in blood vessels that helps to reduce hypertension.

Benefits of Raisins For Skin

Raisins have antioxidant and phenol that prevent free radical damage so it prevents skill cell damage, wrinkles, and blemishes.

A substance called resveratrol is the raisins that help maintain skin health. It removes the toxic cells and purifies the blood. It can also increase red cell production thus in return offer shiny, and clear skin.

Benefits of Raisins For Hair

Raisins are rich in Iron which is essential for hair growth. Iron improves blood circulation and stimulates hair follicle cells. This makes the hair healthy and strong.

Vitamin C in raisins helps facilitates the absorption of minerals and nourishes the hair thus you get the natural color of the hair.

Raisins fight hair damage caused by environmental changes. Consuming raisins daily will reduce dandruff, flakiness, and scalp itchiness. The resveratrol in raisins prevents inflammation in the scalp and cell damage.

Nutrition Facts of Raisins

A serving size of 1 cup of packed raisins which is equal to 165 grams contains below nutrients.

Seeded

Nutrition Value % DV
Water 27.34 g N/D
Energy 488 Kcal N/D
Energy 2043 kJ N/D
Protein 4.16 g 8.32%
Total Fat (lipid) 0.89 g 2.54%
Ash 3.12 g N/D
Carbohydrate 129.48 g 99.60%
Total dietary Fiber 11.21 g 29.47%
Calcium, Ca 46 mg 4.60%
Iron, Fe 4.27 mg 53.38%
Magnesium, Mg 50 mg 11.90%
Phosphorus, P 124 mg 17.716%
Potassium, K 1361 mg 28.96%
Sodium, Na 46 mg 3.07%
Zinc, Zn 0.3 mg 2.73%
Copper, Cu 0.498 mg 55.33%
Manganese, Mn 0.441 mg 19.17%
Selenium, Se 1 µg 1.82%
Vitamins Value % DV
Water soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.185 mg 15.42%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.3 mg 23.08%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.838 mg 11.490%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.0747 mg 1.48%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.31 mg 23.85%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 5 µg 1.25%
Folic Acid 0 µg N/D
Folate, food 5 µg N/D
Folate, DEF 5 µg N/D
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 8.9 mg 9.89%
Lipids Value % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.294 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.036 g N/D
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.262 g N/D

Seedless

Nutrition Value % DV
Water 25.46 g N/D
Energy 493 Kcal N/D
Energy 2066 kJ N/D
Protein 5.07 g 10.14%
Total Fat (lipid) 0.76 g 2.17%
Ash 3.05 g N/D
Carbohydrate 130.651 g 100.50%
Total dietary Fiber 6.1 g 16.05%
Total Sugars 97.66 g N/D
Sucrose 0.74 g N/D
Glucose (dextrose) 45.79 g N/D
Fructose 48.97 g N/D
Starch 4.46 g N/D
Minerals Value % DV
Calcium, Ca 82 mg 8.20%
Iron, Fe 3.1 mg 38.75%
Magnesium, Mg 53 mg 12.62%
Phosphorus, P 167 mg 23.86%
Potassium, K 1236 mg 26.30%
Sodium, Na 18 mg 1.20%
Zinc, Zn 0.36 mg 3.27%
Copper, Cu 0.525 mg 58.33%
Manganese, Mn 0.493 mg 21.43%
Selenium, Se 1 µg 1.82%
Fluoride 385.9 µg 9.65%
Vitamins Value % DV
Water soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.175 mg 14.58%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.206 mg 15.85%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.264 mg 7.90%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.157 mg 3.14%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.287 mg 22.08%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 8 µg 2%
Folic Acid 0 µg N/D
Folate, food 8 µg N/D
Folate, DEF 8 µg N/D
Choline 18.3 mg 3.33%
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 3.8 mg 4.22%
Fat soluble Vitamins
Betaine 0.5 mg N/D
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.2 mg 1.33%
Tocopherol, gamma 0.07 mg N/D
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 5.8 µg 4.83%
Lipids Value % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.096 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.084 g N/D
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.061 g N/D
Amino acids Value % DV
Tryptophan 0.083 g 18.86%
Threonine 0.127 g 7.22%
Isoleucine 0.094 g 5.62%
Leucine 0.158 g 4.27%
Lysine 0.139 g 4.16%
Methionine 0.035 g N/D
Cystine 0.031 g N/D
Phenylalanine 0.107 g N/D
Tyrosine 0.02 g N/D
Valine 0.137 g 6.49%
Arginine 0.681 g N/D
Histidine 0.119 g 9.66%
Alanine 0.173 g N/D
Aspartic acid 0.181 g N/D
Glutamic acid 0.271 g N/D
Glycine 0.132 g N/D
Proline 0.419 g N/D
Serine 0.116 g N/D
Anthocyanidins Value % DV
Cyanidin 0.05 mg N/D
Flavan-3-ols Value % DV
(+)-Catechin 0.7 mg N/D
(-)-Epigallocatechin 0 mg N/D
(-)-Epicatechin 0.2 mg N/D
Flavonols Value % DV
Quercetin 0.4 mg N/D
Isoflavones Value % DV
Daidzein 0.04 mg N/D
Genistein 0.08 mg N/D
Total isoflavones 0.13 mg N/D

Golden Seedless

Nutrition Value % DV
Water 24.7 g N/D
Energy 498 Kcal N/D
Energy 2086 kJ N/D
Protein 5.59 g 11.18%
Total Fat (lipid) 0.76 g 2.17%
Ash 2.74 g N/D
Carbohydrate 131.21 g 100.93%
Total dietary Fiber 6.6 g 17.37%
Total Sugars 97.66 g N/D
Calcium, Ca 87 mg 8.70%
Iron, Fe 2.95 mg 36.88%
Magnesium, Mg 58 mg 13.81%
Phosphorus, P 190 mg 27.14%
Potassium, K 1231 mg 26.19%
Sodium, Na 20 mg 1.33%
Zinc, Zn 0.53 mg 4.82%
Copper, Cu 0.599 mg 66.56%
Manganese, Mn 0.508 mg 22.09%
Selenium, Se 1.2 µg 2.18%
Vitamins Value % DV
Water soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.013 mg 1.08%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.315 mg 24.23%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.884 mg 11.78%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.231 mg 4.62%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.533 mg 41.00%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 5 µg 1.25%
Folic Acid 0 µg N/D
Folate, food 5 µg N/D
Folate, DEF 5 µg N/D
Choline 18.3 mg 3.33%
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 5.3 mg 5.89%
Fat soluble Vitamins
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.2 mg 1.33%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 5.8 µg 4.83%
Lipids Value % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.249 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.031 g N/D
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.223 g N/D
Flavonols Value % DV
Kaempferol 4.5 mg N/D
Quercetin 4 mg N/D

Interesting Facts and History of Raisins

The grapes for raisins were grown in Egypt and Persia initially in 2000 B.C.

Ancient Roman and Greek people decorated the worship venues with raisins and offered them as gifts in competitions. Until the early 20th century, Iran, Greece, and Turkey were the popular raisin producers. 

After that, the U.S. started producing raisins and quickly became the leader in the production and Australia was the second popular raisin producer in the middle of the 20th century. California raisins are the first raisin type planted in 1851 in the U.S.

History Since Ancient Times

Phoenicians and Armenians were the beginners of producing raisins. Phoenicians created vineyards in Spain and Greece while Armenians created vineyards in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.

The name Raisin is based in Middle English which is derived from Old French. Raisin means ‘grape’ in English and dried grape is known as Raisin sec or Dry grape in French.

The earlier french term used for raisin was derived from the Latin word Racemes which means a number of grapes.

Selection and Storage

Packed raisins are readily available in all the grocery stores and online markets all the time of the year. Buy the raisins from safe and well-known brands.

There are large-sized containers and small boxes of raisins are available. Always, buy the raisins in transparent boxes so you can look at them and ensure the quality. Make sure the packed raisins boxed have been sealed properly.

Avoid purchasing the raisins that have thin flesh and are highly shriveled. A good pack of raisins should be plump and shriveled less.

Don’t forget to check the manufacturing date and expiry date before buying.

If you buy a container or boxed raisins, shake them and make sure there is no rattle sound as the sound says the raisins have dried out and are not safe to consume.

Any type of raisin is best recommended within six months of purchase.

Store the raisins in a cool and dry room or place. Raisins stored in airtight sealed containers and kept in dry places offer two months of shelf life which can be further extended when stored in the refrigerator.

Refrigerate the raisins only when you use them later. It can be stored in the refrigerator for not less than one year and it will be increased to two years if it is in the freezer.

Very long refrigeration storage may cause sugar crystallization in the outer. To prevent it, change the raisins from a container to a better airtight bag and remove the air as much as possible. Seal the bag and keep it in the refrigerator. To remove the formed sugar crystals, you can soak the raisins in warm water.

Making Raisins At Home

Raisin preparation is nothing but removing the moisture from the grapes with traditional sunlight or using an oven or dehydrator. Seedless grapes are mostly preferred for raisins.

If you are not sure to buy packed raisins from outside, don’t worry you can make them in your home within a few simple steps.

Making Raisins in Traditional Method

Take the grapes, remove the stems, and wash them in cool water.

Take a tray, put the washed grapes in it, and place the tray in sunlight.

Turn the grapes occasionally to ensure they dried evenly.

Making Raisins in Oven or Dehydrator

Take the grapes, remove the stems, and wash them in cool water.

Boil a pot of water, add the grapes in it for a minute to make the skin softer.

Strain the water and remove the moisture.

Take a baking tray and grease it with little oil or ready the dehydrator tray and add the grapes.

If you are using an oven, heat the grapes for three hours at 225 degrees F.

If you are using a dehydrator, dehydrate the grapes for 24 hours at 135 degrees F.

Take out the dried grapes or raisins, cool them down, and store them in an airtight container or bag for later use.

Culinary uses of raisins  

Raisins are great as alone or combined with other nutty dry fruits like almonds, prunes, dates, and apricots.

Eating raisins with warm milk is healthy and tasty.

Add them to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal and enjoy the taste.

Raisins are mostly used in salads and curries in some cuisines.

Raisins go great with baked foods such as muffins, cookies, biscuits, pies, and cakes. They are also added as a sugar ingredient in jellies, jams, and puddings.

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