Raisins are grapes which, depending on their origin, are dried in the sun, or in the wind, or industrially in tunnel dryers. Drying turns the raisin very soft and sweet. Very commonly used in pastries, raisins are also found in many savory or sweet and sour dishes.
Raisins are sold throughout the year. They can be bought loose by weight, or in packages in supermarkets and grocery stores. Choose raisins that are soft and with a color ranging between golden and brown without traces of sugar on their surface. Industrially produced raisins are coated in palm oil to prevent them from sticking.
Raisins are more often soaked in water, sometimes flavored, in tea, or in liquor (often rum), depending on their future use.
Raisins are an ingredient of a large number of sweet dishes: cakes, kugelhopf and brioches, cookies, muffins, pain aux raisins, rice pudding, apple pies, ice creams, etc. In savory cuisine, raisins also combine well with meats, particularly poultry (quail, duck, chicken), providing an appealing sweet and savory touch. They are also found in dishes made with semolina, such as couscous and tajines, and in chutneys. They are also mixed with vegetables.
Raisins can be stored for several months in an airtight container protected from light and heat.
Raisins concentrate all the properties of grapes. They are particularly high in carbohydrates, which makes them a source of energy. They also contain minerals, the B-group vitamins, and antioxidants.
There are several varieties of raisins, both with seeds and seedless. Besides the renowned Zante currants, also simply known as currants, which are identified by their very dark brown color, there are also golden raisin (sultana) varieties (Turkey, California, Greece), which are seedless. Malaga Raisins (PDO) from Spain are larger and have seeds.