Raisins are made by dehydrating green grapes. In most raisins, the drying process oxidizes the grapes and the raisins end up a dark brown/purple/black color. They are left with a warm, malted, honey taste. However, a few varieties like Muscata, Black Monukka, or Sultana retain their light tan color. They have slightly brighter fruity sweetness to them. Also common is to treat Thompson Seedless green grapes with sulfur dioxide while they are drying to help them retain their golden yellow color. Both golden raisins and dark raisins have the same sweet flavor, satisfying slightly chewy texture, and nutrient content.
These grapes were grown and dried in the United States. California raisins are made from the best grapes. The raisins have been dried to the point that they have less than 19% moisture by weight. They have a light golden color, sweet caramel-like flavor, and soft chewy texture.
Chocolate covered raisins are a popular sweet snack in America. Raisins are included in some Italian dishes like eggplant caponata, and popular baked goods like cinnamon raisin bread, rice pudding, and oatmeal raisin cookies.
Raisins are a useful addition to savory dishes that would benefit from one sweet flavor note. Brussel sprouts, sautéed spinach, and roasted cauliflower are all vegetables that are complimented by raisins.
Golden raisins have a very long and stable shelf life if stored in a cool dry place.
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