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Old 11-06-2013, 06:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Oldvine View Post
Sultanas and Thompson seedless (close relatives) makes golden raisins here where I live. Melissa grapes make big fat golden raisins. Add a little age, and they get can darker. There's also a dark Thompson seedless. All are tasty fresh off the vine or dried to a raisin.
Thanks for that, Oldvine, very interesting.

In that case I think the sultanas we get must be made from the dark Thompson's Seedless. I don't think I've seen dark TS grapes on the fresh fruit counters here (I must look) but we get a lot of the green version and very nice they are too.

The golden raisins I got were very pale and the flavour was very fresh and fruity.

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:15 AM   #12
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Just a point of clarification. We had this same discussion in another group I belong to. Thompson Seedless (US) and Sultana (England) refer to the same variety of white seedless grape. The color difference and sweetness of golden raisins/sultanas is dependent on where they are grown and treated. California has a longer, warmer growing season than England, which makes for grapes with higher sugar levels. That's why golden raisins tend to be sweeter. Both types are treated with sulphur dioxide, which preserves the color. Also of note: while most golden raisins these days are made from Thompson Seedless, there is no standard that says they have to be. In the not-too-distant past, most golden raisins were made of muscat grapes that were de-seeded. However, since Muscat has become more popular as a wine grape in recent years, more of the grapes have been used for that purpose.

Or at least that's my understanding.

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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My experience has been that sultanas are slightly darker, drier, and often have a tiny bit of crystallized sugar on the outside. I don't often see golden raisins. I have found them to be plumper and lighter in colour. I guess we use the word sultana because of the British influence.
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:05 PM   #14
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I first came across them by reading either Ottolenghi or Jose Pizzaro. Love them and prefer them to the dark raisins (I am a red wine drinker too). I now only buy the golden raisins and use them whenever raisins are called for (mostly savoury dishes) - Tagines and a Jose Pizzaro spicy chicken recipe in particular.

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