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Raisins

Raisins are grapes that have been dried. The practice of drying grapes dates back to ancient times and has always ensured a supply of grapes in the off-season. Damascus was renowned for its raisins as early as the 13th century. The largest producers of raisins today are the United States, Turkey, and Greece; other raisin-producing countries include Australia, South Africa, Spain, and Chile, as well as some countries in the eastern Mediterranean basin and in the Middle East.

The grapes most commonly used for drying are table grapes (wine grapes are rarely used for this purpose); they usually have a tender skin, a rich flavour, and a high sugar content. The Muscat, Malaga, Sultana, and Thompson Seedless varieties (the latter accounts for over 95% of American grape production) are among the most commonly marketed. Over 30% of the American grape crop are dried to produce raisins. Raisins may or may not contain seeds, depending on the variety. The seeds of the Muscat variety, which is larger than the Sultana and Thompson, are removed after drying.

Corinth grapes, also known as Zante currants, are tiny black seedless grapes that are particularly popular in the making of pastries. They are named after the places in Greece where they were produced on a large scale over 2,000 years ago. Most raisins are produced by sun-drying grapes directly in the vineyard between the rows of vines. Depending on the temperature, this takes from 2 to 4 weeks, during which the fruit's colour changes from green to purplish brown and the moisture content drops from 75% to less than 16% of the fruit's total composition. Golden raisins are obtained by treating Thompson grapes with Sulphur dioxide are dried in order to conserve their light colour, which varies from golden yellow to amber.

Raisins.