No Christmas dinner would be complete without a Christmas pudding – the mixture of dried fruit, spices and brandy that is traditionally set light to before serving.

Christmas pudding | Jamie Oliver Christmas recipes

The main ingredients in Christmas pudding are raisins, sultanas and currants. Essentially these are all dried grapes.

Raisins have been dried for around 3 weeks and darken as they dry.

Sultanas are green seedless grape varieties.  They are usually smaller, lighter-coloured, juicier snd sweeter than both raisins and currants.

Currants are dried seedless grapes of the “Black Corinth” and “Carina” varieties.  They are much smaller than raisins and sultanas and have an intense, tangy taste.

These fruits have been dried to help preserve them.  Removing moisture helps to stop mould and yeast growing and allows it to be stored for longer.  This is one of the oldest methods of food preservation known to man.

Raisins vs Sultanas vs Currants: What's the Difference?

Traditionally, the Christmas pudding is set alight, believed to represent the Passion of Christ, or Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  The brandy, or other spirit, should be feted in a saucepan and then ignited before being carefully poured over the pudding.  The flame should be allowed to burn out before the pudding is served.  The brandy burns because of its alcohol content.

It’s probably. bit late to have a go at making your own Christmas pudding now, with only 6 days until Christmas, but we’ve included some recipes  below in case you want to have a go next year.

Until next time, keep calm and apply some Science!

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