The culinary industry makes use of raisins, raisin juice concentrate and raisin paste in snacks, baked goods, cereals, confections, sauces, condiments, entrees and side dishes. Exotic Christmas cakes, puddings and desserts almost always have raisins incorporated in them. Main dishes like beef, chicken and turkey jams and sauces may have raisins added to them. Even rice and soups are made healthier with this dried fruit.
Below are popular dishes made with raisins:
• Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
• Cinnamon Raisin Bread
• Apple Cinnamon Harvest Pita Wiches
• Cinnamon Raisin Bread
• Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread
• Apple-Raisin Crumb Pie
• Raisin Tarts
• Raisin and Nut Bread
Raisins have the ability to enhance the flavor of wine when added during the brewing process.
Other Use and Industries
Residues from raisin production can be used as animal feed.
Raisins are of great medicinal value in Ayurvedic medecine. They are believed to be beneficial to the brain, lungs, bowel, womb and throat. In India, it is common practice to make the bride and groom drink milk boiled with raisins added with a pinch of saffron. This is done to stimulate the libido and induce arousal. Arganine, an amino acid, is responsible for treating erectile dysfunction.
Raisins have the ability to sharpen the mind and balance emotions. Taking raisins with milk or water relieves excessive thirst and regulates bowel movement. Raisins can also be soaked overnight to relieve constipation. Women who would like to conceive should take raisins, as it has the ability to increase natural fertility. In case of some particular diseases, an exclusive diet of raisins is advised. It is also an ideal source of energy as raisins contain eight times the amount of sugar found in grapes.
Concerning modern medicine, raisins are a good option when wanting to gain weight. This is especially good for athletes or body builders who want to put on weight without accumulating cholesterol. The presence of many vitamins and minerals help aide the absorption of protein and other nutrients in the body.
Acidosis is the increased acidity of the blood or of the gases in the respiratory system that may give rise to boils, skin diseases, damage to the internal organs, gout, hair loss, renal calculi, arthritis, tumors, heart disease and even cancer. To avoid acidosis, the body needs to have enough potassium and magnesium, the two most popular components of antacids which reduce acidity, which can be found in raisins.
A considerable amount of iron, vitamin-B complex and copper is found in the dried fruit, good for those suffering anemia. Phenolic phytonutrients are abundantly found in raisins. Raisins also have germicidal, antioxidant and antibiotic properties which can help alleviate fever caused by viral and bacterial infections.
While calcium is the main constituent of bones, boron is necessary for the absorption of calcium and proper bone formation. Boron is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis caused by menopause in women and, to supplement this, raisins are part of the top 50 contributors of the total dietary boron requirement in the United States.
Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients, vitamin A, beta-carotene and A-carotenoid. These nutrients are good for ocular health. They prevent eye diseases such as cataract, macular degeneration and age-related weakening of vision.
Despite having a high concentration of sugars, raisins fight bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum disease. This is because of oleanolic acid, which provides protection from brittleness of teeth and tooth decay. Oleanolic acid also prevents the growth of porphyromonas gingivalis and streptococcus mutans, which are the leading causes of cavities.
Catechin, another phenolic compound found in raisin, is effective in the prevention of tumors and colon cancer.
There is insufficient evidence that raisins are an effective treatment for the following:
• varicose veins
• swelling after injury or surgery
• canker sores
• chronic fatigue syndrome
• attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• seasonal nasal allergies
• hay fever
• uterine bleeding
• heavy menstrual bleeding
• liver damage
Though raisins are generally safe for most people, eating large quantities of the fruit can cause diarrhea, stomach upset, nausea, indigestion, dry mouth, cough, headache and infections. Raisins are also generally safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
Raisins may interact with the following drugs:
• clozapine (Clozaril)
• cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
• fluvoxamine (Luvox)
• haloperidol (Haldol)
• imipramine (Tofranil)
• mexiletine (Mexitil)
• olanzapine (Zyprexa)
• pentazocine (Talwin)
• propranolol (Inderal)
• tacrine (Cognex)
• zileuton (Zyflo)
• zolmitriptan (Zomig)
Raisins are dried grapes and in order to produce them, an individual must have knowledge of growing the fruit. The ideal season to grow grapes is during autumn or early winter in a sunny area. The vine should be trained against a wall, trellis or fence. The soil should be free-draining and have good air circulation to reduce the occurrence of diseases. Pruning off the leaves is preferably done around midsummer. To protect ripening fruits from birds, vines should be covered with nets.
It is important to taste the grapes before picking as their sugar content changes from season to season. In addition, they won’t ripen anymore once picked.
Depending on the temperature, it usually takes two to four weeks to dry grapes. Flying pests rarely hover over drying grapes but if ever they do, it is best to use a dome-shaped food cover to protect the grapes.
Four kilograms of fresh grapes are needed to produce one kilogram of raisins. Once picked, they should be rinsed and patted dry. Each grape should be laid out on a clean tray and spread so that they are not touching each other. Intense heat and sunlight may produce raisins as little as a week.