Sweet and chewy, with a hint of earthiness, there’s a reason they’re called “nature’s candy”.

grapes raisinsRaisins are dried grapes. Contrary to the ideas of Joon, raisins are much more than just “humiliated grapes” (even though that is indeed one of my favorite scenes in the movie). The drying process gives them an amazingly high concentration of fruit sugars making them sweet and delicious. If they are dried naturally without chemical processing, they also still get to maintain many of their healthful qualities.

It appears that raisins have been a cultivated part of the human diet since about 3000 BC. I imagine dried fruit was eaten well before that but the first references to actually created a cultivated dried “product” can be found in ancient writings from that time frame. Raisins that are naturally dried or sun dried without chemicals taste delicious and amazing. The mechanical drying process to me results in less deliciousness as well as added chemicals in the form of preservatives to maintain color and texture.

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From a culinary perspective, raisins are awesome additions to dishes both savory and sweet. They can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, meat and veggie dishes; as well as baked goods, pies, and other sweet treats. Of course, they can also be eaten au natural as a satisfying snack.

From a health perspective, people often think that the sugar content of raisins makes them an unhealthy. However, this is not necessarily the case. Raisins are high in fiber and all the good stuff that grapes contain. Remember grapes are a good source of resveratrol, which is beneficial for things like cardiovascular health, including decreasing the risk of issues with cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Believe it or not, despite the sugar content, research demonstrates a significant amount of protocatechuic and cinnamic acids which are beneficial for managing insulin response as well as balancing the chemistry of satiety (leptin and ghrelin).
Next time you’ve got a sugar-craving grab a few raisins and satisfy your body.

Full quote from movie, Benny and Joon, “It’s a shame about raisins...They used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their lives stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes.”