Information about Sultanas plus Sultana Recipes
Information and Recipes
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Often referred to as Sultana, Golden or White Raisins, the
sultana differs from the raisin in two ways. Firstly and most apparent, it is
much lighter in colour, although the colour ranges from very light to brown, but
more importantly, it undergoes a different drying process, more about which you
can read below.
Origin and History of Sultanas
process of drying fruit in the sun is accredited to the Persians with early
written references to drying black grapes for raisins dating back to over 2,000
years ago. It is believed that the Sultana Grape originated in Anatolia in
Turkey, was taken to Greece and from there, sent all over the world.
1872, British born William Thompson who emigrated to the US, introduced
seedless grape cuttings to California. Today, Thompson Seedless is the most
widely used grape variety for making sultanas.
and Processing Sultanas
for the production of dried fruit are restricted to regions with a long, hot
growing season in order for the grapes to remain on the vine until fully matured
in order to achieve the high sugar content needed for satisfactory drying.
The Sultana grape contains 18-20 per cent fruit sugar which ensures the fruit
remains plump and succulent after the evaporation of its water content. Also, because
of their high sugar content, they don't need preservatives to keep them fresh.
grown in the Mediterranean area and some middle eastern countries,
Australia, South Africa and California are now also major producers.
The grapes are harvested when overripe. They are then dried. Drying
methods today vary. Traditionally, fruit were sun-dried however, nowadays they
are often mechanically dehydrated. In general, the darker fruit are sun-dried
for several weeks, producing a darker colour and more shrivelled
appearance, whereas the lighter fruit are treated with sulphur dioxide just to
keep their golden colour and artificially dried to avoid the darkening effect of
the sunlight. This process also extends their storage life and prevent
Being seedless, succulent and sweet - almost honey-like- Sultanas are a
natural choice for cakes, biscuits and desserts, but the warm rounded flavour
goes remarkably well with savoury ingredients such as meat, fish and poultry.
Sultanas (as well as many other dried fruit) are a popular ingredient in meat
dishes, particularly in the middle east.
using, try soaking them for 20 minutes or more in warm liquid such as wine,
port, rum or stock (depending on the recipe) for a softer fruit with added
Below are lots sweet and savoury recipes using Sultanas but there are
many more on the site. Use the search
form to find them all.