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Monday, 26 June 2017


A raisin is a dried grape.


In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the word "raisin" is reserved for the dark-colored dried large grape, with "sultana" being a golden-colored dried grape, and "currant" being a dried small seedless grape originating from Greece.

In the USA and Canada, the name "raisin" is applied to all dried grapes, so that the breakfast cereal known as "sultana bran" in Australia and the United Kingdom is called raisin bran in the United States and Canada.

The currant is one of the oldest known raisins. The first written record was in 75 AD by Pliny the Elder, who described a miniature, juicy, thick-skinned grape with small bunches grown on the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante).

Sun-drying of currants on Zakynthos. By Robert Wallace -  Wikipedia

In the 14th century, currents were sold in the English market under the label Reysyns de Corauntz.

In California the commercial potential of raisins was discovered by accident. An unusually hot spell.  in 1873 withered the grapes on the vine. One resourceful San Francisco grocer advertised these shriveled grapes as "Peruvian Delicacies" and these raisins proved to be very popular.

William Thompson, a Scottish immigrant to the United States, is credited with introducing in the mid 1870s a seedless grape variety that was sweet, thin-skinned, and seedless. By 1920 the Thompson Seedless variety had replaced the seeded Muscat of Alexandria grape as the preferred raisin variety in the US and today American sultana grapes are almost invariably Thompson Seedless.

In 1915 a raisin company executive spotted a teenage girl called Lorraine Collett (December 9, 1892 – March 30, 1983) drying her curly brown hair and wearing her mother's red bonnet in the backyard of her family's home. They hired her for a stunt promotion that had her dropping raisins from an airplane. Soon Collett became the company's first mascot called, "Sun Maid."

Original painting of Collett as the Sun-Maid Girl, ca. 1915

Backed by an aggressive marketing push throughout the 1920s, Sun-Maid managed to triple American consumption of raisins by the end of the decade.

In the old holiday game of Snap-Dragon, players grab raisins out of a bowl of burning brandy, then pop the flaming raisins in their mouths.

A variety of raisins from different grapes. By Paweł Kuźniar wikipedia

If you drop a raisin in a glass of real champagne it will bounce up and down in the glass.

One cup of grapes has the same amount of calories as one-quarter cup of raisins.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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