Raisin, dried fruit of certain varieties of grape.
They are small and sweetly flavored with a wrinkled texture.
The raisin’s unique flavor and nutritional qualities are reaffirmed by its prevalence throughout human history.
The technique of drying fruit was likely discovered by accident. It is conceivable that our ancestors came upon fallen fruit, which had dried in the sun, and discovered its sweetness after tasting it.
As early as 1490 B.C., grapes were sun-dried into raisins. Several hundred years passed before it was determined which variety of grape would make the best raisin.
Evidence of their production has been found in the writings of ancient Egyptians and Persians.
Dried grapes are mentioned in the Bible (Numbers 6:3) during the time of Moses. David (Israel’s future king) was presented with “a hundred clusters of raisins” (1 Samuel 25:18), probably sometime during the period 1110–1070 BC.
Early Greeks and Romans adorned places of worship with raisins, and they were awarded as prizes in sporting events.
With their growing appeal, raisins increased in value. Two jars of raisins could be traded for one slave in ancient Rome.
Hannibal provided his army with raisins when they famously crossedthe Alps using elephants.
The history of raisins becomes a bit hazy until their reappearance in the 12th century AD. For the next 200 years of the Crusades, increased trade and movement between Europe and the East reinforced the popularity of the raisin, which was especially valued by traveling soldiersand adventurers.
Soon afterwards, raisins became a popular luxury food in 14th century England.
Christopher Columbus and many other famous sea voyagers discover the longevity of raisins and brought them aboard their ships.
Raisins appear in Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale” and Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.”
They were a staple at George Washington’s dinner table at Mount Vernon.
The US raisin industry is located entirely in California, where the first raisin grapes were planted in 1851.
The first professional baseball team in Fresno, California, was formed in 1908 and received the nickname the “Raisin Eaters”.
Today, Turkey produces the most raisins, followed by the US.
Currently, over 230 million kg (500 million lb) of raisins are sold each year in the United States, and that number is expected to increase because raisins are recognized as a healthy snack.
They are a naturally stable food and resist spoilage due to their low moisture and low pH.
There are 300 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raisins.
Raisins are particularly high in a wide array of important minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and potassium. One small box of raisins (about 1.5 ounces) also contains 4% daily value of Vitamin B6 and 3% daily value of protein. But perhaps most importantly, raisins are high in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage from oxygen, and a critical but often forgotten mineral called boron, which is especially important in bone health, particularly in women.
To make 450 g (1 lb) of raisins, over 1.8 kg (4 lb) of fresh grapes are required.
The word “raisin” is from the Latin word racemus which means a cluster of grapes or berries.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, 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 Black Corinth seedless grape.
In the two World Wars, raisins were seen as an ideal food for soldiers, and also helped to enliven “war cakes” and breads during times when eggs and sugar were in short supply.
In 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter becomes the first person to eat raisins in space.
Despite being very healthy for humans, a small amount of grapes or raisins can cause renal failure in dogs!