That is an interesting question to me because I love new foods and recipes.
Many times when I discover new recipes, sometimes they might originate in a different country or are just pretty old, they include ingredients with which I am unfamiliar.
Perhaps it’s the name that is used or even the actual food that I am unsure about, but I love uncovering these mysteries.
Especially for recipes we use during the holidays, we may see sultanas in the ingredient list. They tend to appear in these seasonal goodies.
A sultana is a type of dried fruit, similar to a traditional raisin because it is derived from a grape.
Sultanas, raisins, and currants are all dried fruit that begin with a particular type of grape. Because each grape has a different flavor profile, so will the dried fruit they make.
All three of these types of fruits are used in similar recipes but bring a slight difference to the taste of the final product.
In the US we may find sultanas for our recipes sold under the name golden raisins usually from Thompson Seedless grapes grown in California. They are lighter in color than traditional raisins, which start from green grapes and darken as they dry.
Sultanas are slightly sweeter than raisins and absorb liquid, such as liquors, a bit more readily than do raisins.
They are often used in baked goods such as Panettone, teacakes, Christmas pudding, fruitcakes and spice cakes we enjoy eating during the holidays. You may also see them in nut mixes and muesli.
Golden raisins are fun to use in foods like apricot quick bread or cookies to add a bit of sweetness without the darker color of traditional raisins.
Sultanas and raisins can be used interchangeably in recipes, except when you want the lighter color or a bit more sweetness.