Gin soaked raisins have long been considered a home remedy for arthritis. Check out our drunken raisins recipe and the science behind how they might help.
You might be suspicious of your granny’s habit of eating 9 raisins soaked in gin every day but she wasn’t making excuses when she said it helped her arthritis. Raisins soaked in gin (also known as drunken raisins) is an old folk remedy for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases that might actually have some science behind it. It’s also quite a tasty treat.
For starters raisins, have loads of antioxidants which help with inflammation such as resveratrol and vitamin C, as well as known pain-relieving chemicals like ferulic acid, gentisic acid and salicylic acid.
Sultanas or golden raisins also contain sulphur which is an ingredient in many arthritis treatments. Although this is sulphur is added to the raisins to stop them turning brown rather than being a natural compound in the raisins.
The other star ingredient is the juniper berry that makes gin what it is. Juniper is also full of antioxidants such as catechins, alpha-terpineol, alpha-pinene, betulin caryophyllene, limonene, menthol, rutin delta-3-carene and Vitamin C again.
Even the booze helps. Many of these chemicals are not normally digested when eaten but they are alcohol soluble, so distilling the juniper and soaking the raisins in alcohol will draw out these chemicals into a form that can be more easily absorbed.
Plus Swiss researchers in 2009 found that light to moderate alcohol consumption could actually slow the advancement of joint damage and reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Careful though, because while moderate drinkers fared better than non-drinkers, heavy drinkers fared worst of all.
We’re not medical experts (we’re gin experts) so please do talk to a medical professional before trying any folk remedy.
So, how do you make drunken raisins?
Get a clean glass container, preferably a sterilised one.
To sterilise a container. Wash it then sterilise it in the oven at 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1 for an hour or put it through the hot wash cycle in a dishwasher.
Add your raisins.
Normally you should use sultanas/golden raisins. We’ve gone for regular raisins because we’re less interested in the health benefits than in how they taste.
Add your gin.
About 70cl of gin (1 bottle) will cover 1kg of raisins. You want to choose a classic London Dry with loads of juniper so we’ve gone with Hayman’s London Dry.
Cover and leave.
Make sure to cover your container to prevent any unwanted contamination. Then store in a cool dry place for 1-2 weeks. When the raisins have soaked up all the gin, they’re ready.
To treat symptoms eat 9 a day.
The drunken raisins also make a nice boozy treat. They’re sweet but with a slight peppery kick, ideal served with a digestif.
The raisins should keep in the fridge for about 2 months.
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