Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world, such as Armenia, the United States, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Macedonia, Mexico, Greece, Syria, Turkey, Georgia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Togo, and Jamaica, as well as South Africa and Southern and Eastern Europe. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing.
Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used. Seedless varieties include the Sultana (also known as “Thompson Seedless” in the USA) and Flame. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be “water-dipped,” or dehydrated. “Golden raisins” are made from Sultanas, treated with Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), and flame-dried to give them their characteristic color. A particular variety of seedless grape, the Black Corinth, is also sun-dried to produce Zante currants, miniature raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavour. Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and, in the West, are only available at ethnic specialty grocers. Green raisins are produced in Iran. Raisins have a variety of colors (green, black, blue, purple, yellow) and sizes.
Raisins range from about 67% to 72% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose. Raisins, like prunes and apricots, are also high in certain antioxidants. As with all dried fruits, raisins have a very low vitamin C content.