The average person consumes approximately 1.3 pounds of raisins per year!
Are you a raisin lover? Have you ever thought about branching out from your preferred raisin variety and trying something new?
If you’re not sure what kinds of raisins are out there or why you might want to start eating more of them, keep reading.
Explained below is everything you need to know about the different raisin varieties your grocery store has to offer, as well as their health benefits and how you can incorporate them into your routine more often.
Types of Raisins
Raisins come in tons of different varieties. The following are some of the most popular types you might want to look for the next time you’re at the grocery store:
Currants are made from Black Corinth grapes. These types of raisins are seedless and have a very dark color. Their taste is tart and tangy, and they’re quite a bit smaller than other types of raisins.
Currants are sometimes referred to as “Zante Currants.” This name is a reference to the Greek island where they were first grown.
Flame Seedless Raisins
Flame Seedless raisins are made from Flame Seedless red grapes. These raisins are very sweet and are quite large. They’re known for having a rich, dark red color to them as well.
Golden Seedless Raisins
As the name suggests, Golden Seedless raisins have a golden color. They’re made from Thompson seedless grapes and retain their light color because they’re dried in an oven (as opposed to being dried in the sunlight).
Golden Seedless raisins receive treatment with sulfur dioxide as well. This helps them stay light in color.
Monukka raisins are large, dark, and seedless. They come from a type of black grape known as a Monukka grape.
It can be harder to get your hands on Monukka raisins compared to other varieties. They’re produced in smaller quantities and, most of the time, are only available at certain higher-end health-food stores.
You’ll be able to spot a Muscat raisin based on its size and color. These raisins are large and brown. They have a fruitier taste to them, too.
Muscat raisins come from Muscat grapes, which have a greenish-gold hue. These grapes have seeds, so Muscat raisins sometimes contain seeds as well (unless the seeds get removed mechanically).
Many people prefer to use Muscat raisins over other types of raisins in baked goods.
Sultanas are named after the large, yellow-green Sultana grapes from which they’re made. These raisins have a tart taste and soft texture. They’re usually only available in health-food stores and gourmet grocery shops.
Natural Seedless Raisins
Natural Seedless raisins are some of the most popular raisins on the market today. In fact, they account for nearly all of the raisins produced in California.
These raisins come from Thompson Seedless grapes, just like Golden Seedless raisins, but Natural Seedless raisins get dried in the sun rather than in an oven. The sun-drying process (which takes between two and three weeks) gives them a natural dark brown color.
Health Benefits of Raisins
There are lots of reasons to incorporate more raisins (of all varieties) into your diet. Some specific health benefits they have to offer include the following:
Quick Burst of Energy
Some people are hesitant to eat raisins because they do contain quite a bit of sugar.
The fact that they’re a high-sugar snack isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re an endurance athlete. Some runners even carry raisins with them during races for a quick burst of energy that’s easily digested.
Good Source of Fiber
Raisins might be high in sugar, but they also contain a decent amount of fiber. One half-cup of raisins yields about three grams. That’s about one-fifth of the recommended daily amount.
Consuming adequate amounts of fiber can help you to feel fuller longer and may prevent you from overeating. Fiber intake has also been linked to lower cholesterol, better digestion, and a reduced risk of certain diseases.
Good Source of Iron and Calcium
Raisins also provide you with iron and calcium, two minerals that your body needs to thrive. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation and preventing anemia. Calcium helps to strengthen the bones and fight off osteoporosis as you get older.
Raisins contain plenty of antioxidants, too. Antioxidants are compounds that help to eliminate free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and oxidative stress throughout the body.
When your antioxidant consumption increases, you’re less likely to develop serious health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants also help to slow down the aging process.
Raisins have some antimicrobial properties as well. These antimicrobial compounds help your body to fight off bad bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to cavities and other dental issues.
How to Eat More Raisins
Clearly, raisins have a lot to offer and are a great food to add into your routine on a regular basis. Not sure how to add more raisins to your diet? Try some of these tricks:
Sprinkle them on top of salads or bowls of oatmeal
Mix them in with granola (homemade or storebought) or trail mix
Add them to muffin or pancake batter or cookie dough
According to this website, raisins also make a great addition to warm and savory dishes like pasta and roasted vegetables. They add some extra sweetness that contrasts well with your favorite savory foods.
Which Raisin Variety Do You Want to Try?
As you can see, there are tons of different raisins out there for you to try. Which raisin variety sounds best to you?
No matter what kind of raisins you want to pick up next, be sure to keep the tips on how to eat more of them in mind. They’ll help you figure out creative ways to use raisins so that you’re always excited to enjoy this tasty, healthy snack.
For more healthy eating tips and tricks, check out some of our food and recipe-related articles today.