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Difference Between Raisins and Sultanas

Raisins vs Sultanas

Raisins are popular because they contribute to good health. However, some people do not know much about raisins other than the fact that they are small, dark, taste sweet, dried fruit, and are packed with good nutrients. Lately, other dried foodstuffs have been making waves, and threaten to dethrone raisins as the staple dried fruit in healthy diets. Sultanas are gaining popularity as an alternative to raisin which offers same health benefits. In order to differentiate between raisins and sultanas, it’s important to know how each of them look like and where they come from.

Most people don’t know that raisins come from dried grapes which are white in color. The sweet, dark-colored fruit that these grapes produce are initially green in color, but darken as the fruit dries up. The dried fruit is then harvested, processed and sold as raisins. Sultanas, on the other hand, also come from white dried grapes of the seedless variety. The fruits of these grapes are light-yellow in color. They are also smaller, yet juicier and sweeter than raisins. It is not an easy task to harvest sultanas. Some people think that as long as one has plants which produce these dried fruits, one will always have a fresh supply of raisins or sultanas. However, this is not the case. Harvesting raisins or sultanas is a long process.

First, the grapes are nurtured and installed in a grapevine. Once the grapes become overripe, they are carefully harvested, then air-dried. If the grapes need to be stored for a long time, they are treated by sulfur or bleach. Their stalks are also removed to avoid discoloration and lengthen storage life. In order to prevent raisins or sultanas from bunching together, vegetable oil is applied before they are packaged. When faced with a choice whether to buy raisins and sultanas, how does one decide? After all, raisins and sultanas offer the same health benefits. However, most people nowadays would choose sultanas because of how they taste. Sultanas are known for being exceedingly sweet. In fact, some people claim that the sweetness of sultanas can stand at par with the sweetness of natural honey. The exceeding sweetness of sultanas comes from its high sugar content. With regards to food, sultanas can serve as a substitute to raisin in many dishes. An example of some food which can be mixed with sultana include pastries, nut mixes, desserts, and muesli.

The primary source of both raisins and sultanas are European countries, namely Greece, Cyprus, Spain, and Turkey. Other producers of raisins and sultanas are South Africa, the United States, and Australia. Like raisins, sultanas are greatly hygroscopic, meaning that they tend to absorb water vapor. Because of this, both sultanas and raisins need to be dried thoroughly to ensure that molds would not attack the fruit. Molded sultanas and raisins should not be eaten. Aside from molds, sultanas and raisins are also susceptible to yeast and fermentation. Both fruits should be kept in controlled environments to ensure freshness and longevity.


1. Sultanas and raisins are both dried fruits which offer health benefits.

2. Sultanas are slowly catching up with raisins as staple dried fruit.

3. Raisins come from grapes which are white in color. Raisin is initially colored green, but darkens once it dries up.

4. Sultanas come from similar grapes, but of a seedless variety. Sultanas are smaller yet taste sweeter than raisins. Sultanas have been compared to honey in terms of sweetness.

5. Both raisins and sultanas are hygroscopic, which means they absorb water vapor easily.

6. Growing, harvesting and processing raisins and sultanas involves a long and delicate process. European countries produce the most raisins and sultanas.

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