How to Make Raisins (Dehydrate Grapes)

It`s an odd time of year to make raisins for us – grapes are hardly in season and won`t be for some time.  But there`s a few reasons that motivated this effort:

  1. I am doing a bunch of other dehydrating.  Our dehydrator raises the temperature of our kitchen by several degrees.  Since we`ve planted seeds for the gardening season I`m using the opportunity to dehydrate and to add warmth to the room they`re in (I keep them on top of the highest furniture where they get the most warmth).
  2. I`ve tried raisins a few times and not been happy with the results.  Doing small batch off-season experiments are a great way to learn and allow you to develop skills and determine if you want to make larger batches mid-season.

How to Make Raisins (Dehydrate Grapes) Preserving Recipes Grape

The difficulty in drying grapes is two-fold: there`s a lot of moisture and a tough membrane (the skin) which makes the evaporation of it`s water content difficult.  There are two ways to over come this:

  1. `Check`the skin by breaking it.  This typically means piercing it with a skewer, toothpick or needle or freezing it to burst the skins.  I believe you could also drop individual grapes in boiling water for moments to do so (this works great for cranberries which suffer a similar fate).
  2. Cut them.

Piercing can actually take more work than slicing – and the drying times can be considerably longer.  A sliced grape will dry in 12-20 hours while a pierced whole grape will become a raisin in 24-36 hours (we dry all of our fruit at 135 F or 57 C).  Sliced grapes have a slightly odd shape when dried as a raisin but I love them!

How to Make Raisins (Dehydrate Grapes) Preserving Recipes Grape

Home dried grapes, like much dehydrated food, are simply superior to commercially bought product.  The texture is closer to a date – almost crispy on the outside with a chewy inside.  These were super sweet and I`d use a fraction of the amount of these compared to commercial raisins.

Any thoughts we`ve missed on raisins?  They`re well worth making and we`ll be ready for when the season hits this year.

Comments

  1. I’m definitely going to give this a try. What temperature do you dehydrate them at?

  2. Amanda says:

    We just did a big batch of red grapes(they were on sale) in the dehydrator and we’re so happy with the results! I didn’t want to poke or boil them, so we started a few slicing them in half. What we soon learned is that it takes less time to just slice from top to bottom about half way through. This way we have bigger raisins and the air can still be removed. I seriously didn’t know that raisins could taste so good. It’s almost like they have been dipped in honey, they are so sweet. Yours look really good, I bet you get a little thrill everytime you eat them!

    • Amanda, great point re the sweetness – i swear these taste like honey (i.e. not dipped but like honey)!

      I haven`t tried what you describe – was thinking it might work. Definately going to try your technique this summer when we do raisins on the vine…. very neat stuff – thanks for sharing!

  3. Those look good. Never thought about cutting them in half, I will really enjoy using that tip. Definitely like the idea of less time dehydrating and more time eating!

  4. This will make me get a dehydrator. And grape vines! Brilliant, as always!

    • Laughing, thanks Julia. I do beleive we are bad for others budget (but it`s karma – it`s people like you that inspire me to get things like smokers so we`re karmically ok) :)

      we`ll have a post on buying shortly – there`s a lot of questions about it coming up :)

  5. I do prune plums this way, and they come out like candy. We can store them in bags in the freezer and take them out in the dead of winter for a taste of summer. I did elephant heart plums too — cut them in half and they dried in about 14 hours. They were AWESOME!!

    • sounds awesome Kat – we don`t have much freezer space so we dry them well and then store them in mason jars. Havin a freezer also allows you to ùnder dry`them slightly for a more plyable texture – love your idea of the plums… :)

  6. Jo-Anne says:

    When you say slice them, do you mean in multiple slices or just cut in half? I am interested to try these.

    • Jo-Anne,

      we just sliced them in half (the photo in the colander shows this but you have to look very close) – but there`s no science to it. The more the `grape guts`are exposed to the air, the quicker they dry. :)

  7. So…is it just me or does that chair back look hungry?

  8. Thanks for popularizing drying! Great post. I’ve made raisins out of Concord-type grapes, and neglected to remove the seeds. Bad idea. But if you then take your entire batch and cover them in white wine vinegar with a star anise thrown in, it makes the best flavored vinegar ever.

  9. I love you guys. Just sayin’.

  10. A quick way to cut a bunch of grapes in half at once: put a bunch of grapes on a Flat plate. Put another plate on top securing all the grapes in place, take a long sharp or serrated knife and cut in between the plates horizontally, like you would slice a cake for filling. Tada!

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