Raisins

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 26. Jul. 2020

Everyone knows raisins from the classic trail mix, but there's much more to these delicious little dried treats. Read up below on this versatile ingredient, which tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes.

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Raisins...

  • ...keep you full for long. Raisins are high in fiber, which ensures blood sugar levels remains constant, providing long-lasting satiety.
  • ...are packed with iron. 100 grams of raisins contain 2 milligrams of iron, an important mineral for blood health. Vitamin C helps your body make the most of iron, so try to pair raisins with a serving or orange juice or fruit.
  • ...support digestion. With a good 5 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving, raisins contribute a notable portion of your minimum daily requirement of fiber, which aids in digestion.
  • ...are good for bones and teeth. Raisins have a high content of calcium (80 milligrams) and phosphorus (110 milligrams), minerals which work together to strengthen bones and teeth.
  • ...can help rid the body of unnecessary fluids. 100 grams of raisins contain a substantial 782 milligrams of potassium, which helps the body get rid of excess water and also helps maintain a healthy balance of fluids.
  • ...support nervous system health. Raisins are rich in magnesium, a mineral which helps contribute to a healthy nervous system.
  • ...can be contaminated. Despite all the controls and regulations, pesticide residues may be found in raisins. Therefore it’s recommended to purchase organic raisins, which are harvested without the use of pesticides.

What You Should Know About Raisins

The word raisin comes from the French word "roisin", which means grape, the fruit from which raisins are produced. To produce raisins, ripe grapes are hung up to dry or placed on special tarpaulins until the water content has been reduced to about 20 percent. This process increases the sugar content up to 60 grams per 100 gram serving, which is why raisins should only be enjoyed in moderation, despite their health benefits.

The difference between raisins, sultanas and currants is the type of grape and the way its produced. Currants are made from small, dark grapes, preferably from the vicinity of Corinth in Greece. Sultanas and raisins come from the same grape, the sultana from Turkey, but are dried for different lengths of time, giving them different colors.

In order to preserve this colour and make them last longer, sultanas and raisins are often sulphurised. The only way to avoid the sulphur is to buy organic products. This also ensures that there are no pesticides on the fruit.

Origins

Raisins of all kinds are imported from Turkey or Greece, but also from America, Australia or South Africa.

Flavor

Raisins have a very sweet, fruity flavor.

Our Favorite Recipes with Raisins

Find all our recipes with raisins here.

How Health Are Raisins?

Raisons may be sweet as candy, however they're packed with tons of body-healthy nutrients. Raisins are packed with fiber, meaning their high sugar content enters the bloodstream slowly and continuously, keeping you full for a long time. They're also rich in numerous minerals and vitamins, including iron,  potassium and and numerous B vitamins.

Raisins' high iron content faces a drawback however in the fact that raisins contain no vitamin C, which is integral in helping the body absorb and make use of iron. Therefore it's recommended to eat an orange or other fruit high in vitamin C after eating raisins. 

Raisins are also very high in sugar, so should not be consumed everyday.

All dried raisins also contain natural salicylic acid, which causes skin and respiratory tract irritation in some people.

RAISINS NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 314
Protein 2.5 g
Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 68 g
Fiber 5.2 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Raisins come in many different varieties, from large gold raisins to smaller dark purple ones. Which one you purchse is simply a matter of taste. No matter which kind you're buying, make sure to purchase unsulphured raisins if you can. Organic varieties are also preferred, as they will contain less pesticides.  

Storage

Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, raisins can remain fresh for several months. 

Preparation

The easiest way to eat raisins is to eat them directly from the bag. If you prefer them a little softer and more fruity, you can soak them briefly in water before eating. 

What to Make With Raisins

Because of their sweet taste, raisins are perfect in desserts such as sweet breads, cookies and hearty cakes during Christmas time. They're also delicious and satiating as a snack, mixed with nuts to make trail mix or just on their own.

Raisins can also add sweetness and texture to a variety of savory dishes, including African couscouses and curries.

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