Millions of grapes grow at the sun over flooded hillsides of the Andes in Argentina and Chile. The combination of dry heat and the cool winds and mountain rivers, which give humidity, offer the perfect growing conditions for the wine berries. The cultivation of the berry came in the 16th century with the Spanish Conquistadores to Latin America and was originally done in order to be able to produce sufficient altar wine for the missionaries. Also the dried version of the berry was most likely not only known among the Spanish, but also by the native Americans. Eventually Raisins were used for many hundreds of years as a food and the Latin word racemus from which the word raisin developed, was already known among the Romans. The earliest time in history dried fruits or berries were mentioned, was already on Mesopotamian board from 1700 BC.
For today's Raisin production the wine berries are harvested when they are ripe and afterwards dried in the sun or with hot air until they contain around ten to 20 percent of moisture. Through this process the fructose level increases strongly, while the weight reduces; Four to five kilogram of grapes result into one kilogram of Raisins. The gentle drying process has many advantages: The elastic skin of the wine berry does not tear and therefore no microorganisms can get into the Raisin, which makes the use of preservatives unnecessary. At the same time very valuable nutrients are not only kept, but also, like the fructose level, increase strongly.
Starting from the Rhenish marinated beef, which is garnished with raisins, up to the Mole Poblano, the most famous sauce in Mexico, Raisins are used in all different countries in all kinds of dishes as a precious ingredient. The sweet taste causes the high demand of the product and moreover it is rich in nutrients. Iron, calcium, and potassium strengthen the bones, moreover fibres stimulate the digestion, and many plant substances protect the brain. Due to the high level of energy Raisins were also used in ancient Egypt as aphrodisiac food. Today they are often used as comfort food.
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