Sultanas Key facts Larger than currants but smaller than raisins, sultanas are a staple of British baking. Sultanas were traditionally imported to Europe from the Ottoman Empire where they were grown extensively. Nowadays many sultana grapes are grown in California and Australia.

All year round

The sultana differs from the raisin in two ways, one of which is fairly apparent. It is lighter in colour – the lighter the better, in quality terms – but it is also the sun-dried grape of one variety alone, the green, seedless Sultana grape of ancient (possibly Persian) lineage.

The business of drying vine fruits has taken ancient names like Smyrna and Corinth, and Mediterranean families into the New World: the sultanas grown in the irrigated lands along the Murray River, in Victoria and South Australia, are especially fine and were developed by Greek immigrants from the 1920s onwards.

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