Raisins & Sultanas
Raisins are sweet and succulent dried grapes. It is produced by removing water from the grapes entirely and drying them. They come in colors varying from green to dark brown. Coming in the size of small pebbles, raisins have a wrinkled skin with chewy flash.
They can be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, the raisins are mainly the dark colored dried grapes, the golden colors dried grape is called sultana and the smaller black ones are called currant. About 70% of raisin is only sugar.
Raisins vs Sultanas vs Currants: What’s the Difference?
Simply put, raisins, sultanas and currants are all different types of dried grapes.
However, understanding the differences between the three can be confusing, particularly for raisins and sultanas as their definitions vary in different parts of the world.
In the US, the term “raisin” is applied to both raisins and sultanas. To distinguish the two, sultanas are referred to as “golden” raisins.
Internationally, it’s a different story. In most countries, including the UK, raisins and sultanas are differentiated by the type of grape and the processing method used.
Raisins are a type of grape that has been dried for around three weeks. Grapes darken as they dry, which gives raisins their dark brown color.
A range of grape varieties is used to make raisins. The size, taste and color depend on the type of grape used.
In the US, raisins are typically made from the Thompson Seedless variety.
However, in Australia, raisins are made exclusively from larger grape varieties including Muscat, Lexia and Waltham Cross, and are often larger than sultanas for this reason.
Raisins are dark in color, have a soft texture, a sweet flavor and are typically larger than sultanas and currants.
Sultanas are made from green seedless grapes, particularly the Thompson Seedless variety.
Unlike raisins, sultanas are typically coated in an oil-based solution prior to drying to speed up the process. For this reason, they are often lighter in color than raisins and currants.
In Australia, some sultanas are made without the drying solution. These grapes take longer to dry — up to three weeks — and are dark brown in color. They are often referred to as “natural” sultanas.
In the US, sultanas are referred to as “golden raisins” or “sultana raisins.” These grapes are treated with a preservative called sulfur dioxide to retain the lighter color of the grape.
Sultanas are typically smaller than raisins and are sweeter, juicer and lighter in color than both raisins and currants.
Currants, also known as “Zante currants,” are tiny, dried grapes.
Despite their name, currants are actually made by drying a variety of small, seedless grapes called “Black Corinth” and “Carina.”
Currants are dried for up to three weeks.
Due to their small size, they have a sweet, tangy and intense flavor and add texture and sweetness to both sweet and savory dishes.
Dark vs. golden raisins:
Both dark and golden raisins are generally made from the same type of grape. The difference is that dark raisins are sun-dried for many weeks, while golden raisins are dried mechanically and are first treated with the preservative sulphur dioxide to prevent their color from darkening. Golden raisins tend to be more plump and juicy, but their nutrition content is virtually the same as dark raisins
Afghan Black Raisins :
Absolutely delicious. They are small, soft, and very sweet. This species of raisins are typical of Afghan that have this unique taste, which is not there in Indian raisins.
1. Help In Digestion:
Having a few raisins every day is good for your stomach. Raisins contain fibres that start to swell in the presence of water. These give a laxative effect to the stomach and help in relieving constipation. Also, daily intake of raisins keeps the bowel movement regular and the fibers help to keep toxins and waste products out of the system (1).
2. Reduce Acidity:
Raisins contain potassium and magnesium in good levels. These help reduce acidity and help remove the toxins from the system, preventing diseases like arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart diseases
3. Help Against Anaemia:
Raisins have a good amount of iron and B-Complex vitamins in them which help to treat anaemia . The copper present in raisins also helps in the production of red blood cells.
4. Help Prevent Cancer:
An antioxidant named cateching present in raisins helps in protecting the body against the free radical activity that can cause tumours and colon cancer
5. Help Treat Infections:
Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients, which are well known as anti-inflammatory antioxidants. They exhibit antibacterial properties that help lower the risk of fever and kill the bacteria. Thus, having a few raisins a day can keep you safe from cold and other such infections.
6. Help Reduce Sexual Weakness:
Consumption of raisins is also good for your sex life. Raisins contain an amino acid named Arginine which increases libido and induces arousal. It is good for men and is used to treat erectile dysfunction . Also, the added energy of the raisins helps your conjugal life. Remember the tradition in India where the new bride and groom are given a glass of milk boiled with raisins and saffron? This is an age-old practice that validates the effectiveness of raisins.
7. For The Eyes:
Raisins are found to be rich in polyphenolic phytonutrients which are antioxidants that help in keeping your eyesight strong. The antioxidants in raisins help in protecting the eyes by reducing the free radical action that weakens the vision and causes muscular degeneration as well as cataract. Also, as raisins have vitamin A, beta carotene and A-Carotenoid and they are super good for the eyes .
8. For Your Mouth And Dental Care:
Raisins contain oleanolic acid which is one of the phytochemicals which is essential to keep your teeth safe from decay, cavities as well as brittle teeth. Raisins prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth to keep the teeth in good shape. As they contain calcium in good quantities, they also prevent the teeth from peeling away or breakage. The boron present in raisins is good for keeping germ build-up in the mouth low .
9. For Your Weight Management:
If you are desperately trying to gain weight, then these raisins are your best friends. Raisins are rich in fructose and glucose and give you loads of energy. They will help you gain weight without accumulating bad cholesterol .
10. For Good Bones:
Raisins also contain good amounts of calcium which is good for bone health . They help you from arthritis and gout.
Raisins For The Skin:
Raisins are nutritious, give high energy and contain low-fat food. These help in keeping the skin healthy and beautiful. Following are some benefits of raisins for the skin:
Unlike topical creams, raisins protect the skin from inside by guarding the cells from any damage. They are packed with phenol, an antioxidant that prevents the free radicals from damaging the skin cells, collagen and elastin. This helps delay the appearance of the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines and blemishes.
The antioxidants in raisins speed up the skin repair system, plump out the skin and prevent it from damage. They also rejuvenate the skin cells and prevent sagging of the skin.
Raisins contain resveratrol, a substance which is highly beneficial for maintaining the health of the skin . It removes the toxic and black cells from the blood to purify the blood. It also helps improve the production of red cells in the body. This, in turn, makes the skin clear, shiny and nourished.
Blood toxicity, also known as acidosis, is a condition that increases the acidity in the body. This can lead to skin complications like boils, pimples and psoriasis. The high amounts of magnesium and potassium in raisins neutralizes the stomach acid. This helps cure acidosis and keeps the skin healthy and problem-free.
Consumption of black raisins accelerates the functions of the liver to detoxify the body . This helps flush out the toxins from the body to get a clean and glowing skin.
Raisins also help to protect the skin against sun damage. The phytochemicals in them protect our skin cells from the damage caused by the exposure to the sun. The amino acids in raisins boost skin renewal and form a protective barrier against sun damage. This is useful to prevent skin cancer .
The antioxidants in the raisins combat the free radicals in the body . This slows down the oxidation process and prevents the disintegration of the DNA of our skin.
Raisins contain vitamins A and E that help stimulate the development of new cells in the skin’s outer layers. They improve the hydration of the skin to make it supple and younger looking. Regular consumption of raisins also makes the skin glowing and beautiful .
Raisins For The Hair:
Raisins contain plenty of hair-friendly nutrients like vitamin B, iron, potassium, and antioxidants which are required for improving the condition of the hair. Some of the benefits of raisins for the hair include the following:
These tiny treats are packed with iron, a nutrient that is required for maintaining the health of the hair. A deficiency in iron can cause a dull and lifeless mane and severe hair loss. Iron improves the blood circulation in the body and stimulates the hair follicle cells. This makes the hair healthy and strong. So munch a handful of raisins daily to get your dose of iron .
Raisins contain a large amount of vitamin C which facilitates the absorption of minerals and provides nourishment. This helps maintain the natural colour of the hair.
Consuming a handful of raisins daily will strengthen the blood vessels. This, in turn, will reduce flakiness, dandruff and itchiness of the scalp. The resveratrol present in raisins inhibits scalp inflammation and cell deaths to prevent hair loss. Raisins also fight hair loss caused by environmental damage.
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants can prevent hair loss to a great extent. The antioxidants in raisins prevent hair damage by stimulating healthy hair follicles. They also promote healthy cells essential for hair growth.
Raisins contain several essential nutrients that promote the health of the hair. Vitamin C in raisins maintains the follicle’s connective tissue, also known as collagen. This promotes hair growth. Vitamin E further strengthens the cell membranes and prevents the free radicals from attacking the hair follicles.