The sultana (also called the sultanina) is a type of white, seedless grape of Turkish, Greek, South African or Iranian origin. In some countries, especially Commonwealth countries, it is also the name given to the raisin made from it; such sultana raisins are often called simply sultanas or sultanis.


Other names: Sultanina, White Grapes, Sultana Grapes, Thompson Seedless
Translations: Σουλτάνα, سلطانة, タナ, Sultanija, סולטנה, Султанија, 이슬람교국 왕비, सुल्ताना, 苏丹娜, Sultanan, Султана

Physical Description

These are typically larger than the currants made from Zante grapes, but smaller than "normal" raisins. Sometimes, the name "sultana" is applied to all raisins, to the extent that the breakfast cereal known as Raisin Bran in other English-speaking countries adopts the moniker "Sultana Bran".

Colors: light green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet and sour
Mouthfeel: Juicy
Food complements: Grapes
Wine complements: White
Beverage complements: Brandy

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december

Preparation and Use

Cleaning: Dired sultana can be washed in running water.

Conserving and Storing

Can be stored for a few days in a cool dark place, can also be canned or made into juice or wine for later use.


History: The sultana raisin was traditionally imported to the English-speaking world from the Ottoman Empire. According to popular folklore from the Empire, the sultana was invented when the Sultan left his grapes in the sun after fleeing a tiger attack, hence the name sultana, from the feminine form of sultan. (Which historical Sultan is referenced to in the story is unclear, so this may just be folk myth.) Turkey and Australia are major producers.

The sultana grape is cultivated in the United States under the name Thompson Seedless, named after William Thompson, a viticulturist who was an early grower in California and is sometimes credited with the variety's introduction. According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, the two names are synonymous. Virtually all of California raisin production (approximately 97% in 2000) and roughly one-third of California's total grape area is of this variety, making it the single most widely-planted variety.



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