Raisins are grapes which have been suffered to remain on the vine, till they have attained to maturity ; when they are either dried in ah oven, or the fruit being tied together in clusters, and dipped in a ley of wood-ashes, containing a small portion of sweet-oil, is then dried by exposure to the sun, without being separated from the branches :—the latter method appears to be preferable.
The best fruits of this description, are those known under the name of sun, and jar-raisins; both of which are dried in the sun ; being imported from the southern countries of Europe, and also from the Asiatic provinces of Turkey. They form a principal article of the dessert; and, when properly managed, yield an agreeable wine. .For this purpose, let one cwt. of raisins be deprived of their stalks, chopped, and put into a wide, but not too deep vessel. Two-thirds, or fourteen gallons of water, are now to be added, and the whole suffered to stand for fifteen days, being care-fully stirred once every day. At the end of that period, the raisins must be strained, pressed, and the liquor obtained from them, poured into another vessel. The remaining third part, or seven gallons of water, should next be added to the fruit, thus pressed, and likewise stand for the space of one week. The liquor is then again to be strained, and the two runnnings are to be poured into a barrel, capable of containing twenty-one gallons, together with a quart of brandy. In order to colour the wine, three quarters of a pound of refined sugar must be set on fire, and burnt into a little of the liquor, which ought to be added to the whole; and, as soon as the fermentation ceases, the barrel may be closed, and suffered to stand till its contents are ready for bottling.—Raisin-wine is an agreeable, cooling liquor; but, if it be too often used, or in too large quantities, it is apt to occasion flatulency.
With respect to their properties, raisins are too frequently relished as an article of food, to be considered as a medicine. They are very nutritive, and have been recommended in nephritic, complaints (see Kidnies) ; but if eaten immoderately, they contribute to the decay of the teeth, and occasion painful colics. Raisins are likewise used in pectoral decoctions, and similar medicinal preparations; for which purposes the stones ought to be carefully taken out; and also in all cases, where their astringency is not required.