Raisin Scientific names
Scientific names • Vitis vinifera L. • Vitaceae Raisin comes from the Latin racemes and means “a cluster of grapes or berries”. Cultured for fruit, eaten fresh, processed into raisins or juice, with some cultivars adapted for the canning industry. RAISIN (Fr. raisin, grape; Lat. racemus), the name given to the dried fruits of special varieties of the grape vine, Vitis vinifera, which grow principally in the warm climate of the Mediterranean coasts and are comparatively rich in sugar. The use of dried grapes or raisins as food is of great antiquity (Num. vi. 3; 1 Sam. xxv. 18, xxx. 12). In medieval times raisins imported from Spain were a prized luxury in England, and to the present day Great Britain continues to be the best customer of the raisin-producing regions. “Raisins of the sun” are obtained by letting the fruit continue on the vines after it has come to maturity, where there is sufficient sunshine and heat in the autumn, till the clusters dry on the stocks. Another plan is partially to sever the stalk before the grapes are quite ripe, thus stopping the flow of the sap, and in that condition to leave them on the vines till they are sufficiently dry. The more usual process, however, is to cut off the fully ripe clusters and expose them, spread out, for several days to the rays of the sun, taking care that they are not injured by rain. In unfavourable weather they may be dried in a heated chamber, but are then inferior in quality. In some parts of Spain and France it is common to dip the gathered clusters in boiling water, or in a strong potash lye, a practice which softens the skin, favours drying and gives the raisins a clear glossy appearance. Again, in Asia Minor the fruit is dipped into hot water on the surface of which swims a layer of olive oil, which communicates a bright lustre and softness to the skin. Some superior varieties are treated with very great care, retained on their stalks, and sent into the market as clusters for table use; but the greater part are separated from the stalks in the process of drying and the stalks winnowed out of the fruit. Raisins come from numerous Mediterranean localities, and present at least three distinct varieties: 1. ordinary or large raisins 2. sultana seedless raisins 3. currants or Corinthian raisins. The greater proportion of the common large raisins of English commerce comes from the provinces of Malaga, Valencia and Alicante in Spain; these are known by the common name of Malaga raisins. Those of the finest quality, called Malaga clusters, are prepared from a variety of muscatel grape, and preserved on the stalks for table use. This variety, as well as Malaga layers, so called from the manner of packing, are exclusively used as dessert fruit. Raisins of a somewhat inferior quality, known as “lexias,” from the same provinces, are used for cooking and baking purposes. Smyrna raisins also come to some extent into the English market. The best quality, known as Eleme, is a large fruit, having a reddish-yellow skin with a sweet pleasant flavor. Large-seeded dark-coloured raisins are produced in some of the islands of the Greek archipelago and in Crete, but they are little seen in the British markets. In Italy the finest raisins are produced in Calabria, inferior qualities in central Italy and in Sicily. From the Lipari Islands a certain quantity of cluster raisins of good quality is sent to England. In the south of France raisins of high excellence – Provence raisins in clusters – are obtained at Roquevaire, Lunel and Frontignan. Sultana seedless raisins are the produce of a small variety of yellow grape, cultivated exclusively in the neighborhood of Smyrna. The vines are grown on a soil of decomposed hippurite limestone, on sloping ground rising to a height of 400 ft. above the sea, and all attempts to cultivate sultanas in other raisin-growing localities have failed, the grapes quickly reverting to a seed-bearing character. The dried fruit has a fine golden-yellow colour, with a thin, delicate, translucent skin and a sweet aromatic flavor. A very fine seedless oblong raisin of the sultana type with a brownish skin is cultivated in the neighborhood of Damascus.
The major producers in the world
The major producers in the world 1. United States (428,650 tons) 2. Turkey (350,100 tons) 3. Iran (155,000 tons) 4. South Africa (33,500 tons) 5. Greece (31,000 tons) 6. Australia (16,800 tons) 7. Mexico (15,550 tons)
TimeLine Leaving fruits out to dry in the sun and air is one of the oldest methods of preserving food-whether it’s turning grapes into raisins, or fresh figs, dates, apricots, and plums into their dried counterparts. Raisins and dried fruits are simple, wholesome foods, grown by nature and “made” by men and women basically the same way for thousands of years — long before artificial, frozen, canned, or processed foods. People have enjoyed raisins since the earliest days of civilization. The early Phoenicians and Egyptians were responsible for expanding the popularity of raisins throughout the western world. Due to their long-term storability and ease of transport, raisins traveled with Christopher Columbus, tickled George Washington’s palate at Mount Vernon, helped fuel Robert E. Peary’s conquest of the North Pole in 1908, and accompanied astronaut Scott Carpenter in outer space in 1962 more… The first raisins It’s probably safe to say that raisins were discovered by man the first time he found them accidentally dried out on the vine. But it took several hundreds of years before he determined which of the 8,000 varieties of grape genus would produce the best raisins. Historians tell us the ancient Phoenicians and Armenians took the first steps in perfecting viticulture, the process of grape growing and more… Augustus and Hannibal loved raisins The Phoenicians and Armenians then began to trade raisins with the Greeks and the Romans. Tasty dried muscats, sultanas and currants became very popular and in great demand with the Greeks and Romans who ate them in large quantities. As the popularity of the raisins grew, so did their value. Can you believe that in ancient Rome you could trade two jars of raisins for one slave boy? more… The knights and raisins For all their popularity, though, raisins were not exported to the rest of Europe. Shipping methods were too poor to maintain the quality of the raisins for long travel. All of that changed in the 11th century. Knights returning from the crusades brought raisins back to Europe with them. They had sampled the dried fruit during their travels through the Mediterranean and Persia. When the knights went home and began to crave raisins, a huge demand was created. Fortunately, packing and shipping techniques had improved enough for raisins to be more… Raisin in the new world Grape growing flourished in the climate of the new world areas of Mexico and what is now California. Missionaries sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain were sent to Mexico to educate the natives about religion. By the 18th century these influential and powerful padres had established 21 missions as far north as what is now Sacramento (California). The padres used the majority of their grapes to make sacramental wines, though they also more…
Life on the vine
The raisins are hard to work for, but the results are sweet. It takes at least three full years to produce a single raisin, from the time a grape vine is planted to its first yield. Grapevines must be tended by hand and demand constant attention all year. In January, vines are carefully pruned to allow the “canes,” the most productive branches, to grow. After pruning, the canes are hand-tied to rows of wire four to five feet off the ground. Buds first appear towards spring. By March and early April the sun draws out tiny grape clusters. These clusters will grow and plump in the hot valley sun all summer under the watchful eyes of farmers. Since vines need large amounts of water to bear fruit, farmers heavily irrigate to soak the roots to a depth of three to five feet throughout the growing season. Miles and miles of irrigation pipes and pumps provide ample water to the vines in temperatures that can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. By late August, the lush, heavy and ripe grapes are ready to become raisins. Skilled farm workers gently hand-pick the grape clusters and lay them on clean paper trays between the rows of vines. During the two to three week drying period, the grapes are turned to make sure they receive enough sun to become dark sun-dried raisins. When the moisture content is about 15 percent, the trays are carefully rolled into bundles for protection from the weather. After drying for several more days, the bundles are opened and emptied into field bins ready to be taken to the farmer’s yard. There they are loaded onto a vibrating conveyor belt that separates the larger stems from the raisins. The raisins are then put into large wooden bins that help equalize the moisture between the raisins. The bins are stacked and covered to warm the raisins and allow the drier raisins to draw moisture from the juicier raisins. The bins of raisins are then trucked to various packing plants throughout the Valley.
Few foods are as easy to use as natural raisins. Sweet, tasty and delicious, raisins are a great snack just as they are or can add flavor to almost any favorite recipe.
Try mixing these delicious sun-dried nuggets with nuts and other dried fruits for a naturally good trail mix. It’s easy to add raisins to salads and hors d’oeuvres. Liberally sprinkle raisins over your next green salad to add a new texture and taste appeal or toss sliced apples, walnuts and raisins together for a classic salad. Raisins are also a natural addition to your baked favorites. Can you imagine a cinnamon roll without raisins? Raisins add a touch of sunshine to breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and puddings. Here are some cooking tips for you: Raisins can be chopped easily when they have a thin coating of vegetable oil put on them. For easy grinding, you can freeze the raisins first, then use vegetable oil to coat the blades of your blender or food processor. Raisins are also great in a variety of dishes. They add a piquant flavor to beef, chicken, pork, ham, lamb and even veal when cooked right alongside the meat or poultry. Or you can blend them with your favorite meat sauces for an international flavor! Raisins everywhere Have you noticed that raisins seem to be everywhere in your grocery store? They are! Well over 100 processed food items contain raisins – from granola bars – to yogurt – even tortillas! Manufacturers like raisins because they can utilize them in many products naturally – without the use of preservatives – due to the high moisture levels and preservatives found naturally in raisins. Manufacturers also use raisins in place of sugar since they have their own natural sugar. So, next time you’re in the grocery store, check your favorite products for raisins – and you’ll probably find them on the ingredient label!
At the packing plant
At the packing plant Quality control plays an important part once the raisins are at the plant. Before the raisins are taken from their bins, government inspectors use long prods to take samples from the middle of each box. Strict standards must be met to ensure each box of raisins are free of mold, pests and other imperfections. Next, the raisins are “processed”. They are poured into a hopper which feeds onto a series of conveyor belts and drums that remove any remaining stems, chaff or lightweight fruit. From this point, the raisins are sent through a brisk vacuum air stream to catch any undesirable material that may have been missed. Then they’re size-graded and thoroughly washed in pure water. Modern Technology The raisins then move past a sophisticated laser sorter that uses light beams and a computer to determine if anything other than raisins are passing through the stream. If the computer determines something isn’t a raisin, it instantly sends a small burst of air down to knock the material out of the stream into a trough below, all at incredibly high speeds! Hand inspections are done throughout the packaging process by quality control technicians to make raisins the cleanest, highest quality raisins in the world. After final quality inspections, the raisins are automatically weighed and packed in a variety of convenient sizes – from snack packs for kids’ lunches to huge cartons for bakers and cereal companies.
To your good health
To your good health Raisins are nature’s original candy – and one of the world’s most nutritious dried fruits. Sweet, tasty raisins are cholesterol-free, low in sodium and virtually fat-free. They provide many necessary vitamins and minerals to your diet, including iron and potas- sium. Maybe best of all, they’re 70 percent pure fructose, a natural form of sugar, that’s easily digested for quick energy. Easy to keep, easy to eat Due to the high sugar content in raisins, they don’t need preservatives to keep them fresh. Also, raisins will keep their flavor, color and nutritional value for up to 15 months when stored between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Raisins can also be frozen and thawed easily for later use. Store your raisins in an airtight container to keep them fresh, soft and free from humidity that can cause the fruit sugar to crystallize on the raisins’ skin. Also, store your raisins away from brick and concrete walls where they can absorb moisture.
Iranian raisin Iran is the third largest exporter of raisin in the world by exporting 92,000 tons (7% global Consumption) of raisins worth around 70 million dollars annually. There are different varieties of Iranian Raisins; Sultana Raisins, Golden Raisins, Black Raisins and Green Raisins. The advantage of Iranian Raisins is principally its price and different methods of processing, and that’s the reason why Iranian Raisins are amongst the finest raisins in the world. It is believed that humans discovered raisins when they happened upon grapes drying on a vine. History books note that raisins were sun-dried from grapes as long ago as 1490 B.C. But several hundred years passed before it was determined which grape variety would make the best raisin. In Iran we can divide the variety of raisins into Seeded Raisins Unseeded Raisins, Green raisins, rice raisins and currants. Green raisins and rice raisins are obtained from seedless grapes and Currant is provided from variety of seeded grapes. We explain raisins preparation method, because these names are related to raisins preparation method as well as the kind of grapes, which is used in raisins production. In Iran over 200 varieties of grapes have been named in different languages, but it is obvious that most of these names are related to one item that has found different names in different locations. Why do some raisins have a different color? In Iran Raisin colors vary by their drying process. For example, a dark purplish/black raisin or Black Raisin is sun-dried. A light to medium brown raisins or Sultana Raisin is dried under the shade. A golden to bright yellow raisins is dried under shade and is also treated with sulfur dioxide to retain color and is called Golden Raisin or Golden Bleached Raisins. Green Raisin is green in nature but if sulfur is added the color will have a yellowish green color to it. Raisins processing The processed raisins are prepared from clean, sound, dried grapes; are properly stemmed and cap stemmed except for cluster or uncap stemmed then the raisins are sorted and cleaned. Sizes and Count A 330 >= B 331-400 > C 500 Size pcs/100gr Maximum count – Pieces of stem %10 – Seeded %1 – Cap stem sum length / kg < 10cm – Sugared %5 – Discolored, damaged, or moldy raisins %5 Provided these limits are not exceeded: – Damaged %5 – Moldy %3 – Substandard Development and Undeveloped %2.5 – Foreign Materials: Stone 1pcs/10kg – Percentages of moisture %16 – Percentages of unclean max %5 Raisin, Nutrition and Health Raisins are the original candy-nature’s candy. They are one of the most nutritious dried fruits in the world. Raisins are cholesterol-free, low in sodium and totally fat-free. They provide many necessary vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium and certain B vitamins. Raisins are a good source of fiber and rich in antioxidants. Raisins are 70% pure fructose (a natural form of sugar), which is easily digested for quick energy.
Raisins Sultana raisins This kind is brown and is the most popular variety. The sultana grape dries under the sun to become the delicious sultana raisin. The Greek sultana raisin has a distinct sweet flavor that resembles vanilla and a burned orange color. Golden raisins (Anguri) This Product is available in several sizes and quality (Seedless or with Seed). This kind is oven-dried and then sulfur is added to preserve its color. Black raisins (Sun-Dried) This Product is available in several sizes and quality (Seedless or with Seed). This kind is prepared by drying the fruit in full sun and results in a dark color. Green raisins This Product is available in several sizes and quality. This kind is naturally green, but sulfur is added to bring out a brighter color.
Background of Raisin
Background of raisin Raisins are made primarily by sun drying several different types of grapes. They are small and sweetly flavored with a wrinkled texture. The technique for making raisins has been known since ancient times and evidence of their production has been found in the writings of ancient Egyptians. Currently, over 500 million lb (227 million kg) 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. Most raisins are small, dark, and wrinkled. They have a flavor similar to the grapes from which they are made, but the drying process which creates them concentrates the amount of sugar making them taste much sweeter. They are a naturally stable food and resist spoilage due to their low moisture and low pH. Raisins are composed of important food elements such as sugars, fruit acids, and mineral salts. The sugars provide a good source for carbohydrates. Fruit acids such as folic acid and pantothenic acid, which have been shown to promote growth, are also significant components. Vitamin B6 is found in raisins and is an essential part of human nutrition. Important minerals in raisins include calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Additionally, iron, copper, zinc, and other nutrients are found in trace amounts in raisins. Considering the composition of raisins and the fact that they have no fat, it is no wonder that this fruit is considered a healthy snack. The majority of grapes used for making raisins in the United States are grown in California. This area has an ideal climate for grape growing because it has plenty of sun during the summer and very mild winters. Five other countries, which produce a substantial amount of raisins include Greece, Australia, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. Each of these countries have their own variety of raisin that they consistently grow.
Raw materials The primary raw material for making raisins is grapes. To make 1 lb (453.59 g) of raisins, over 4 lb (1,814.36 g) of fresh grapes are required. These grapes must have certain qualities in order to produce quality raisins. For example, they must ripen early and be easy to dry. Additionally, they must have a soft texture, not stick together when stored, have no seeds, and have a pleasing flavor. The most important grapes for raisin production include Thompson Seedless, Black Corinth, Fiesta, Muscats, and Sultans. By far, the most widely grown raisin grape is the Thompson Seedless variety. They are used in the production of over half the world’s raisins. Ninety percent of these come from California. The Thompson was first developed in 1872 by William Thompson, who created it by taking cuttings from an English seedless grape and grafting them with a Muscat grape vine. The resulting plant produced the first Thompson seedless grapes. It is believed that all of the subsequent Thompson seedless vines came from this original grafting. The Thompson seedless is a white, thinskinned grape, which produces the best raisins available today. Its small berries are oval and elongated. It does not contain seeds and has a high sugar content. From a raisin production standpoint, Thompson grapes are ideal because they ripen fairly early in the season and do not stick to each other during shipping. The Black Corinth is a grape that originated in Greece, which has become an important variety of raisin grape. They are about one fourth the size of the Thompson grapes and have a juicy, tangy/tart flavor. These grapes are quite small, spherical in shape, and reddish-black in color. They are thin skinned and nearly seedless. They make good raisins and are excellent for production because they ripen early and dry easily. Because of their flavor, they are more often used for baking cookies, specialty breads, and fruitcakes than for eating. How lucky we are that many of our foodstuffs are already dried, seeded, and otherwise prepared for inclusion in our favorite recipes. We purchase seedless raisins and don’t even have the option of purchasing raisins with seeds. However, this was not the case over TOO years ago. Then, seedless raisins (expensive) were sold alongside those with seeds (noted as cheaper and “more commonly used”). One might have saved pennies buying raisins with seeds but invested time in seeding those tiny fruits. How? One cookbook suggests that Valencia raisins be heated slightly with water in order to plump them, and then cut with a knife and de-seeded by hand! However, enterprising manufacturers produced labor-saving devices for women’s kitchen chores, including deseeding raisins. First, the housewife clamped her Boss brand raisin seeder to her kitchen table. Then, she loaded the raisins into the hopper at the top. As the housewife cranked the handle, the raisins were squeezed between two grooved rubber and toothed-metal rollers, which exposed the seeds. The seeds were then forced out a chute at the front (pushed out by the metal-toothed rollers) and the raisins dropped below the rollers into a pile. Next in line of importance to raisin production is the Muscat grapes. These are large, sweet grapes that contain some seeds. Originally grown in Alexandria, Egypt, these grapes were the primary raisin grape before the advent of the Thompson. They were introduced in the United States in 1851. Muscat grapes are juicy, dull green in color, and have a sweet, muscat flavor. They have moderately tough skins and result in excellent tasting, large, soft-textured raisins. When they are used for raisin making, they are subjected to a mechanical process, which removes the seeds after the grapes are dried. These seeds are a significant drawback to using the muscat, and additionally, they do not ship well. Grapes are harvested in August through September. While drying on trays, the grapes’ moisture content is reduced from 75% to under 15% and the color of the fruit changes to a brownish purple. After the fruit is dried, the paper trays are rolled up around the raisins to form a package. The rolls are gathered and stored in boxes or bins before being transported by truck to a processing plant, where they are cleaned, inspected, and packaged. Two minor varieties of grape that find some use as raisins include the Fiesta and the Sultana. The Fiesta is a white seedless grape with a good flavor. A major problem with these grapes is that their stems are more difficult to remove. The Sultana grape is nearly seedless, but they make inferior raisins because they are less meaty, have a high acid content, and have some small, very hard seeds. Both Fiesta and Sultana raisins are used more often as baking raisins.
The manufacturing process
The manufacturing process There are four primary methods for producing raisins including the natural, dehydration, continuous tray, and dried-on-the-vine methods. The most popular of these is the natural method which will be explained in some detail. The basic steps in natural raisin manufacturing include harvesting, processing, and packaging. While a small portion of raisins are made by mechanically dehydrating grapes, the majority of them are produced by sun drying.
Farming raisin The first step to producing good raisins is growing quality grapes in the vineyards. Grape farming is a year-round commitment and includes the practices of pruning, irrigation, fertilization, and pest control. Most of the work done in these vineyards is still done by hand. Pruning involves the removal of parts of the vine to control its growth pattern. This has the benefits of equalizing the quality of grape throughout the vineyard, making other farming tasks easier and reducing costs. It is typically done when the vines are dormant between December and March. Irrigation is done during the summer while the vines are growing to keep a continuous supply of water in the vineyard soil. While fertilizers are not needed in all vineyards, some vines respond well to the use of nitrogen and zinc based fertilizers. Fertilization is typically done during the summer growing season. Vineyards are susceptible to various diseases and insect attacks, so it is important for these factors to be controlled. Chemical and biological agents are used to control mites and other insects. Sulfur dusting is used to prevent the growth of mildew and other fungi. Since these compounds can have an effect on the overall grape quality, attempts are made to minimize the amounts used.
Raisin harvesting and drying
Raisin harvesting and drying Starting in late August and continuing through September, the grapes are harvested. At this point in the year they are at their optimum sweetness. Bunches of grapes are handpicked by field workers and placed on paper trays, which are laid out on the ground between the vine rows. To provide a good surface for the trays, the soil between the rows is leveled. Depending on the weather, the grapes are allowed to dry on the trays for two to four weeks. During this time, the moisture content of the grape is reduced from 75% to under 15% and the color of the fruit changes to a brownish purple. At night, the trays are rolled to minimize the accumulation of sand and protect against raisin moth infestation. The paper trays are embedded with a compound, which kills insects that can damage the grapes as they dry. After the fruit is dried, the paper trays are rolled up around the raisins to form a package. The rolls are gathered and stored in boxes or bins before being transported by truck to a processing plant.
Raisin inspection and storage
Raisin inspection and storage When the rolls of fruit arrive at the manufacturing plant, they are emptied out onto wire screens and shaken to remove dirt and other unwanted debris. They are also inspected to ensure that they meet previously determined specifications. In the United States, dried raisins are inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure that all state and federal food laws are followed. Factors such as moisture content, color, and taste are all used to evaluate the shipment. Based on their quality, the raisins are graded as either standard or substandard. Only the standard graded raisins can be immediately used. Whether or not some of the fruit will be stored for later processing or moved to the production lines, is determined by the needs of the manufacturer. If the raisins are moved for storage, they are stacked outside the plant in temporary storage enclosures. These enclosures are constructed with polyethylene sheeting fastened to wooden frames. They are made tight enough to hold the fumigation gasses, which are applied periodically to inhibit insect growth. Methyl bromide and phosphine gases are the primary fumigants used.
Raisin processing The dried grapes are moved from the storage bins to the processing plant. Here they are emptied out onto a conveyor line and mechanically modified. The residual sand and other debris are first removed by running the raisins on a fine mesh screen while air is blown on them. Immature fruit is removed by suction devices. Next, the raisins are separated from the bunch stem by shaking. The cap stems on each raisin are removed by being passed through two rotating conical surfaces. If there are seeds in the raisins, they are mechanically removed. When all these processing steps are completed, the raisins are run through a series of mesh screens to sort them according to size. At this point the raisins can be put into a variety of packaging. These range in size from small half ounce cardboard containers for individual consumption to 1,100 lb (499.4 kg) containers for industrial use. Each package is run through metal detectors, in order to detect any unwanted metal particles, and then checked for the appropriate weight. They are packed onto trucks and shipped to customers. The whole process of receiving the raisins at the factory, processing them and putting them into packaging takes about 10 minutes.
Quality Control Quality control is an important part of each step in the raisin making process. While the grapes are growing, they are checked for ripeness by squeezing the juice from a grape and using a refractometer. This allows the growers to determine how much sugar is in the grape. They are also tasted and their weight per volume is measured to give a measure of the quality of the fruit. During picking, workers are careful not to place bunches with insects or mold on the trays. They also try not to break berries as the liquid will attract insects. Knives are used to cut down the grape bunches to prevent damage. At the factory, the raisins are thoroughly inspected. They are also subjected to a variety of laboratory analyses to ensure the production of a consistent, high quality product. The future Advancements in raisin production will focus on improvements in raisin yield, variety, and processing. Currently, the amount of grapes that can be produced are limited by the amount of land available. To increase yield, researchers are developing improved farming methods and new, genetically modified vine types. Experimentation is also being done on improving grape variety and characteristics through traditional grafting and biochemical means. It is expected that processing equipment will improve to reduce the amount of time required and improve the quality of the finished product.