Based on hours of scientific research, I can conclusively say that (most) raisins do not wear white gloves and sing Motown.
Which is unfortunate, because those guys were adorable.
The word “raisin” comes from the Latin racemus which means “a cluster of grapes or berries.” Who knew? Besides Latin-obsessive people, I mean.
Once upon a time (before there was a California), packaged raisins weren’t available. Then someone found some sun-dried grapes on the vine. Once they stopped fussing about the missing pre-wine, they tried a dried grape, cried “YUM!” in a variety of languages, and the raisin industry was born.
These days, over half the raisins in the world are grown in California, and Fresno is the raisin Capital of the world. The finest raisins, however, are from Malaga (Spain). I consider the finest raisins to be the ones in front of me.
It takes more than 4 tons of grapes to produce 1 ton of raisins.
The way that the grapes are dried determines the color of the raisins. Grapes dried in the sun will turn into dark purple/black raisins. Grapes dried mechanically will be more of medium brown. And golden raisins are made by mechanically dehydrating grapes and then treating them with lye, burning sulfur, and sulfur dioxide. Say What??!
AND it turns out the best way to store raisins is not in the pantry but in the refrigerator. That way they retain their flavor, color, and nutritive value longer. (That can’t be right, can it? Who keeps raisins in the frig?)
Tomorrow: More facts about raisins (you are not going to believe this stuff).