Raisins from Grapes in a Food Dryer

Posted By: Daniel Gasteiger  //  Category: dry fruit
washing grapes for the food dryerUnless you grew the grapes, you can’t be sure what’s on them. Come to think of it, even if you grew the grapes, you probably didn’t keep bugs and birds from er… making deposits. Wash them thoroughly before you commit them to the food dryer.

Have you used your food dryer to make raisins out of grapes? Try it! Store-bought raisins are tasty and all that, but homemade raisins put the store-bought ones to shame. I expect never to buy commercially-packaged raisins again now that I’ve made my own. Whenever I anticipate wanting raising for cooking, baking, or salads, I load up my dehydrator and let it do its magic.

Making Your Own Raisins

I use only seedless grapes when I make raisins. I can’t imagine trying to remove seeds from grapes, and there’s no way I want to bite into a raisin that has a woody center.

puncturing grapes for the dehydratorYou can skip this step, but it’s not as time-consuming as it might seem. I puncture each grape in two places using the tip of a paring knife. Stabbing the fruits when you dry blueberries is almost imperative, and I’ve added the step to my grape preparations to promote more even and quicker drying.

Which reminds me of something I despise about commercial raisins: many of them have dehydrated stem stubs still attached; I pick through commercial raisins and tear off those stem remnants before I incorporate commercial raisins in my dishes. Happily, when I make my own raisins, I can pick through the grapes and make sure none have stems attached before the grapes go into the dehydrator.

One other thought: grapes skins are impressive water barriers. I stab each grape in at least 2 places to provide places for water to escape from the grapes in the dehydrator. While you don’t have to stab your grapes, I’m convinced they dry a bit faster when you do. In any case, at 135 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take 10, 20, even 30 hours to dehydrate grapes into raisins. Check on them after 10 hours, and, perhaps, every two hours after that until they’re shriveled, pliable, and chewy. Raisins from my food dryer are always plumper than commercial raisins, and they taste much, much better.

grapes on the food dryer drying trayAs I puncture the grapes I deposit them on my dehydrator trays. By the time I’m done, this tray will be quite full. It’s OK if the grapes touch each other, but don’t pack them in so tightly that they wouldn’t move if you tilted the trays.
raisins coming out of the dehydratorThese raisins emerged from my food dryer after about 36 hours of drying! A few raisins were still plumper and juicier than is ideal for long-term storage, but these went into a pie within a few hours of leaving the dehydrator. Monitor your drying grapes. If you leave them too long, they become very hard and even brittle; you might actually prefer commercial raisins over ones that dry too long at home.

 

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