If you are getting ready for Christmas baking then you may encounter a few recipes which include various types of dried fruit especially grapes. Christmas Cake and Puddings often require all three types of dried grapes Although they may look similar there is in fact a few minor differences between these varieties of dried grapes i.e. Raisins, Sultanas and Currants.
Sultanas are made from seedless white grapes. They are distinguishable by their light color compared to Raisins which appear to be darker. In South Africa you are fortunate to have a very distinguishable brand of Sultanas made by South African Dried Fruit (S.A.D) which is called Golden Sultanas, these have a very light color. Sultana’s in the USA are called Golden Raisins or Thompson Seedless but appear much darker than the South African version so its not easy to distinguish between Sultanas and Raisins unless you read the label on the packaging. Sultanas are made by drying white grapes in the sun but they retain their light color as a result of the use of sulphur dioxide which also acts as a preservative. Currents are mostly used in combination with Sultanas and currants to make Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake or Hot Cross Buns.
Currants should not be confused with Black Currants and Red Currants. Currants are dried seedless red grapes. Black and Red Currants are types of berries. Currants are much smaller than raisins and have a more compact shape and are much darker than Raisins.