THE CURRANT (BLACK RAISINS)


Description

The currant (black raisins) accompanies man since the dawn of civilization. Discovered accidentally when people tried out of curiosity the dried grapes in the vineyards.

The currant that is a purely Greek grape, produced after the drying of grapes of variety (cultivars) Vitis Vinifera L. and is mostly characterized by black berries that are small size and pitted.

The existence of the crop in the Northern Peloponnese is mentioned by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle in the 4th BC century. The cultivation of raisins began in Patras and Aigio and was later expanded to Corinthos, Pyrgos, Amaliada, Pylos, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Nafpaktos etc. They cultivated especially there because of the soil and climatic conditions under the effect of the sea breeze and sunshine are ideal for producing a natural product with unsurpassed quality.

Currants are excellent sources of energy, vitamins, minerals, fiber and poly-phenol anti-oxidants.

Black raisins contain the phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol, a polyphenol anti-oxidant, has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, blood cholesterol lowering activities. Studies suggest that resveratrol has protective action against cancers like melanoma, colon and prostate, and diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/ fungal infections. In addition, resveratrol reduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels. It does so firstly by reducing susceptibility of blood vessels damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through increased production of the vasodilator substance, nitric oxide (a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels).

Black raisins are very high in anthocyanins, another class of polyphenolic anti-oxidants. Anthocyanins have been found to have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities.

One hundred grams of raisins provide the 10% of daily-required levels of dietary fiber. Studies suggest moderate fiber in the diet help lower body weight, cholesterol levels in the blood, and colon and breast cancer incidence. It also helps relieve constipation episodes by decreasing gut transit time of food. Furthermore, they are also abundant in flavonoid compounds such as tartaric acid, tannins, and catechins which, together with inulin and fiber, aid in smooth bowel movements through their laxative function.

Raisins are very good sources of the minerals calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium copper, fluoride, and zinc. Copper and manganese are an essential co-factor of antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.  In addition, they are rich in the electrolyte, potassium, which reduces heart rate, blood pressure and thereby helps prevent stroke, CHD, and peripheral vascular diseases.  Furthermore, they are also good source of some B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.

Protein  3.07 g   5.5%DRI

Carbohydrates  79.18 g   61%DRI

Fat-total  0.46 g  

Dietary fiber  3.7 g   10%DRI

Calories 249    15%DRI

Folates  5μg   1%DRI

Niacin 0.77 mg   5%DRI

Pantothenic acid 0.1 mg  2%DRI

Thiamin 0.11 mg   9%DRI

Vitamin C  2.3 mg  4%DRI

Vitamin E  0.12mg 1%DRI

Vitamin K 3.5μg   3%DRI

Sodium  1mg   11%DRI

Potassium 749 mg  16%DRI

Calcium 50mg   5%DRI

Copper  0.32 mg  35%DRI

Iron 1.88 mg 23%DRI

Magnesium 7 mg  2%DRI

Manganese 0.3 mg   12%DRI

Phosphorus 101 mg   15%DRI

Selenium 0.6 μg   1%DRI

Zinc 0.22 mg   2%DRI

 

Microbiological Analysis

Aerobic Total Plate Count (PCA-agar): 2.7 x 103 cfu/g

Anaerobic Total Plate Count (Brewer’s anaerobic agar): 1.9 x 103 cfu/g:

Yeasts and Molds (PDA): 1.8 x 102 cfu/g

Lactic acid bacteria (MRS agar): 7 x 101 cfu/g

Gram- , Lactose fermenters (Mc Conkey agar) : 6.1 x 102 cfu/g

Gram- , Lactose  non fermenters  (Mc Conkey agar) : 3.4 x 102 cfu/g

E. coli (Eosin Methylene blue agar): <101 cfu/g

Micrococcaceae (Mannitol salt agar): 1.2 x 102 cfu/g

S. aureus (Baird-Parker agar) : <101 cfu/g

L. monocytogenes (Ottaviani and Agosti Listeria agar): <101 cfu/g

Salmonella (Rappaport-Vassiliadis, Salmonella-Shigella agar, TSI slant): <101 cfu/g     

The product microbiologically is safe.