Some useful information about vine fruit
We call raisins, sultanas and currants all vine fruits. All of those are dried grapes. If they originate from Greece they are called Currants
(after Corinth), those from Turkey are traditionally known as Sultanas (whether light or dark brown) and those from the USA and other origins Raisins (these are generally dark and smaller than sultanas in appearance).
Sounds simple? Well it was until recently the Turks seeing an opportunity, also started to produce Raisins to supply the European markets where there was a great demand for the darker smaller fruit.
Of course nothing is that straight forward really and apart from these standard products there are all sorts of specialties, like Australian Raisins and Sultanas, Golden Raisins which have been bleached, Jumbo Raisins and even midget raisins!
Historically vine fruits used to contained seeds, because yes, grapes contained
seeds, which used to make them a bit awkward to eat – what do you do with all those seeds in your food? Problem solved as these days grapes are cultivated with very very small seeds or more frequently no seeds at all.
You may have come across Thompson Raisins. These are raisins originating in the States and in Turkey which are from Thompson grapes, seedless large juicy grapes which give a sweet seedless raisin.
Historically (I’m talking only 5 years ago) vine fruits were renowned for stones and stalks sneaking into the final product, it was only US produce which was anywhere near the quality we expect today. Other origins had to be re-cleaned and washed in the UK before we could use it in any foods. Now both US and Turkish produce is an extremely high quality product
Like all crops, pricing of vine fruit varies depending on the weather in the
countries of origin especially just before and after harvest. Good sunny
weather is needed so that the products can ripen and dry properly. Poor weather equals poor crops.
So now you know what to look for – beware the bleach!