Sultanas are a seedless white grape, with their name coming from the ancient Persian (Iranian) city of Soultanieh, where they are believed to have originated. In America, sultanas are often referred to as Thompson Seedless Raisins, as they are produced from Thompson seedless variety grapes.
Grapes are grown all around the world and growing conditions are suited to mild conditions with no extreme climate variations. Australian Sultanas are usually harvested from mid to late February and after 3 weeks of drying; they are ready for grading and processing. As a result of some cooler weather and rain periods in March-April, this year’s drying process has been a little slower than usual. Although we’ve had to wait a bit longer than normal for this year’s crop, it is definitely worth the wait, especially after the rain impacted 2011 crop.
Only 10% of the world’s grape production are dried.
Trellis drying techniques used by our farmers is unique to sultana cultivation in Australia. Other countries tend to harvest the grapes and place them on trays/paper sheets on the ground. Sun drying process, whether by trellis or on the ground can take 2-3 weeks, and often results in the grapes becoming darker in colour. Whereas grapes dried using rapid mechanical drying and preservatives such as sulphur dioxide, preserve the grape colour resulting in lightly coloured sultanas.
The beauty of trellis drying is that the fruit isn’t handled until it is dried and many believe it is the limited handling of the fresh fruit that results in the fine taste associated with Australian sultanas. Sultanas labelled as “naturally dried,” like our organic Australian ones, have been purely sun dried, with no oils or dips used during the drying process, enhancing the natural flavours of the fruit. Other sultanas are usually dried with added oils like olive or vegetable oil.
Our Organic Natural Sultanas are grown on a certified organic, family run farm on the Murray River, west of Mildura in Victoria. They use traditional and honest growing techniques like adding mulching between the rows of trellis to increase water retention, soil fertility and reduce the soil compacting. Our premium Aussie sultanas are grown under strict quality standards, in compliance with the international SQF2000 standard, which is an internationally recognised HACCP certified program of food safety and quality management systems.
When it comes to dried fruits, it’s always best to choose organically grown when possible as grapes are amongst the top fruits which retain pesticide residues from conventional farming techniques, and toxins tend to concentrate more in dried fruits.
Sultanas would be one of the most popular of the dried fruits we sell, as they are so versatile in their use as a healthy snack, add to muesli’s or trail mixes and a popular ingredient in baking and cooking. Some of our favourite recipes featuring these delicious plump and juicy new season sultanas…
Pistachio, Herb & Quinoa Fish Stuffing
Organic Apple & Carrot Muffins
View our Organic Australian Sultanas Naturally Dried at our online store!
What is your favourite sultana dish, treat or snack??