Homemade Raisins How-To
Half of the world’s raisins are produced in California. But the best raisins? Those just might come from your own backyard. Grapes have become a popular backyard crop. Depending on what type of grape you’re growing, they may be just about ready for picking. Some may try their hand at winemaking and others simply enjoy the juicy goodness of freshly picked fruit, but homemade raisins are easy, fun and a treat you may have overlooked when preparing to preserve the harvest.
I’ve dried all manner of fruit for preservation over the years, but somehow overlooked the best known of all. Grapes have been dehydrated for centuries and are perfectly suited for the process, remaining tender and flavorful for as long as you care to store them. Historically, grapes were left in the sun to dry for several weeks to reach that sweet and wrinkly state and this method holds up fine today, but that seems like an awfully long time to wait. Home dehydrators do a great job, but without special equipment, raisins can be made in the oven with little effort and no added expense.
Raisins have just one ingredient: grapes. They can be placed on a rack to dry without any preparation (other than washing), but blanching them before dehydration softens the skin, making the grapes more tender and amenable to even drying.
Red grapes will give the most familiar results, but green grapes work just as well, yielding a raisin with a paler, golden-brown hue. If buying grapes, seedless are a good way to go, but not necessary. Grape seeds give a slight crunch to the sweet treat and are loaded with heart-healthy nutritional value.
The time it takes for grapes to become raisins varies significantly depending on oven temperature and type of grape. Check after about 18 hours and revisit as needed. When it looks like a raisin, it’s done.
Homemade Raisins Recipe
- Blanch grapes by dropping by the bunch in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transferring into a bowl of ice water.
- Remove stems.
- Pat dry with a towel and spread in a single layer onto baking sheets.
- Place baking sheet in an oven set to warm (180 degrees is ideal) and allow to dry 18-24 hours, turning after 12 hours to prevent sticking.
- Once dark and wrinkled, remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.