Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world, such as Armenia, the United States, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Macedonia, Mexico, Greece, Syria, Turkey, Georgia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Togo, Jamaica, South Africa, Southern and Eastern Europe. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing.
The word raisin dates back to Middle English and is a loanword from Old French; in Old French and French, raisin means "grape," while, in French, a dried grape is referred to as a raisin sec, or "dry grape." The Old French word in turn developed from the Latin word racemus, "a bunch of grapes."
Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used. Seedless varieties include the Sultana (also known as "Thompson Seedless" in the USA) and Flame. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be "water-dipped," or dehydrated. "Golden raisins" are made from Sultanas, treated with Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), and flame-dried to give them their characteristic color. A particular variety of seedless grape, the Black Corinth, is also sun-dried to produce Zante currants, miniature raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavour. Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and, in the West, are only available at ethnic specialty grocers. Green raisins are produced in Iran. Raisins have a variety of colors (green, black, blue, purple, yellow) and sizes.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand the word raisin is reserved for the dried large dark grape, with sultana being a dried large white grape, and currant being a dried small Black Corinth grape. In India and Pakistan, the black raisin is known as kishmish (किशमिश/کشمش, a Hindustani word) and sultanas are known as munaqqa (मुनक़्क़ा/منقہ). In Dutch the word krent is reserved for Corinth based raisins, and raisin cognate rozijn for the rest.
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