Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Grapes are easily preserved by sundrying to make raisins. In the United States this is usually done by laying the grapes on paper between rows in the vineyard for about three weeks. Raisins are naturally brown and have caramel flavor notes due to a combination of browning-enzyme oxidation of phenolic compounds and direct browning reactions between sugars and amino acids. Both of these processes are accelerated by high temperatures, so a lighter color can be obtained by drying the grapes in the shade. Golden raisins are made by treating the grapes with antioxidant sulfur dioxide and drying them mechanically at controlled temperatures and humidities; the result is a much fruitier, lighter flavor. Zante “currants” are made from the small black Corinth grape, and are tarter than ordinary raisins thanks to their higher proportion of skin to pulp.