Related entry: Sherry
Raisins are the dried ripe fruits of the grape vine, Vitis vinifera, Linn. (N.O. Ampelideae), largely cultivated in Central and Southern Europe, California, and Australia. The raisins are packed in boxes either in bunches or loose, and exported chiefly from the South of Spain. They are of a purplish-black (Muscatel raisins) or golden-brown (Valencia raisins) colour, more or less shrivelled and compressed. Within the thin skin is a soft pulp, in which a few hard pear-shaped seeds are embedded. Raisins should be free from any crystalline incrustation of dextrose or potassium acid tartrate.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of raisins are dextrose and potassium acid tartrate in the pulp, and tannin and fixed oil in the seeds. The latter are separated from the raisins used in making galenical preparations, as the fixed oil they contain tends to impart an unpleasant taste.
Action and Uses.—Raisins are demulcent, nutritive, and mildly laxative. They are sometimes used to prepare mucilaginous drinks and confections.