Dehydrating 101: Grapes into Raisins
Let us wander farther down the lane of dehydrating…to raisins. Raisins? Yes, the mostly unloved dried fruit (berry) of the grocery aisle. Which is easy to see why – most raisins are bland and or hard. There are so many varieties of grapes though – seedless and seeded. Considering one is lucky to see more than 2 types in stores, if you are willing to dry them the world is open to you.
Fall can be a good time in cooler climates to pick up freshly harvested grapes from local growers. At the farmers market I picked up two types. The green ones were very tiny pearls, intensely flavored, an almost champagne flavor/aroma. They were seedless. The purple ones were seeded, still I wanted to see if it was any harder to dry them so I bought a pound to play with.
Grapes do require a little work ahead but it is simple to do. After rinsing off the grapes and pulling off the stems I shook them dry.
With the seeded ones, I split each grape in half and popped the seed(s) out with my pinkie nail. Then placed cut side down on mesh lined trays.
These raisins took about 24 hours to dry at 135°.
The golden raisins were more complex. While you can pierce each grape with a toothpick or skewer, I opted for the blanch method as it is faster. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the grapes and blanch for 30 seconds, scoop and drain, then on mesh lined trays.
After letting them dry for 24 hours I went through the raisins, removing any that were dry. They will be pliable but not juicy inside. Remove the dry ones and set aside to cool. (What do I dry on? A L’Equip Food Dehydrator.)
Overall it took about 36 hours for the biggest ones to dry. 1½ pounds doesn’t make a lot – they make up for it in how intense they taste.
And best? No sulfites!
Do keep tightly sealed, in a cool and dark place for best storage. As with all dried fruit and berries, shake the jar daily the first week to distribute any moisture left.