Raisins are simply dried grapes, which can either be sun dried or heat dried to preserve them and to concentrate natural grape sugars. The word raisin comes from the French word raisin, which means grape. Raisins are around 70% sugar by weight, of which fructose and glucose predominate.
Raisins are usually made from Thompson Seedless grapes, which can be treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their pale yellow color. Treated raisins are typically called golden raisins in the United States and sultanas in England. Zante currants are made from dried Corinth grapes, and have a complex sweet and sour flavor.
Because of their dark sweet aroma and flavor, raisins are good pairs with oxidative styled Sherry and can be used to make sauces for pork or lamb.