Turn your fresh grapes into delicious homemade raisins with this easy drying process. These perfect little morsels have an incredible range of flavors and a large number of nutrients. Dehydrated grapes are very versatile being used in everything from oatmeal raisin cookies to mixed in a green salad but in our house they are most often featured as a go to snack item. I simply cannot keep enough raisins in our home so I decided it was time to make this dried fruit for myself.
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What Is The Best Way To Dry Grapes?
Regardless of if you grow your own grapes or purchase yours from the grocery store the best way to dry grapes is by using a dehydrator. There are so many dehydrators on the market today and if you are new to making dehydrated fruit the first thing you need to know is that you do not need to spend a ton of money on a dehydrator. The most popular brand, the excalibur food dehydrator, is a fantastic machine but if you are not going to be using it frequently then please do not think you need to spend hundreds of dollars.
The best choice for affordable dehydrators is one that has both an adjustable thermostat as well as a timer. That will allow you to get the most use out of your dehydrator and use it for multiple food dehydrating projects. I have this dehydrator that I purchased from Amazon and at the time of writing this post it is retailing for $45.
Are Raisins Just Dehydrated Grapes?
Yes! Homemade raisins are grapes that have been dehydrated.
One of the benefits of making your own dehydrated grapes rather than purchasing store-bought raisins is that you can choose any of the many varieties of grapes available today to turn into your delicious raisins. Any type of grape can be turned into raisins but seedless grapes will be the easiest to work with. You can use green grapes, purple grapes, red grapes, white grapes, and even black grapes.
If the grapes that you are using are not seedless you will need to remove the pesky little seeds before dehydrating.
How Do You Dehydrate Grapes Into Raisins?
First, get a large pot of water to clean your grapes in. I add a splash of white vinegar to my water when I wash grapes but that is completely optional. The vinegar helps to remove bacteria from the fruit.
Next, take the grapes out of the water and lay them out on a clean tea towel to dry. I take this time to remove all of the grapes from the stems. You can take the grapes off of the stems either before or after you wash them in the water. The choice is up to you.
The third steps in the dehydrating process is an extra step that you absolutely do not want to skip. You must pierce or puncture the waxy skin of the grapes before you put them into the dehyradator. Due to the initial moisture contents of the grapes if you do not do this little bit of prep it will take much longer for your grapes to dry and they may not dry out completely. Even commercial raisins are made following this little prep step.
Using a sharp knife you will make an incision in the grape. I like to cut grapes by making a slice down one side that goes all the way to the middle of the grape. Some people prefer to cut the grapes completely in half and I have been known to do that with larger grapes. For the best results and most efficient drying try to keep the grapes all similar in size.
After you have pierced the grape skin it is time to put the grapes on the dehydrator trays. Spread the grapes out on your trays in a single layer and if you opted to cut the grapes in half you will want to lay them cut side up. If you overcrowd the tray the air circulation in the dehydrator will be impacted and that will prevent the grapes from all drying at the same time. So it is a good idea to keep the grapes in a single layer and not cram the trays full.
Finally, load the trays into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135-140 degrees fahrenheit. Most grapes will fully dehydrate in 24-48 hours. The time it takes will depend on a few factors such as the size of the grapes as well as humidity in the air. Dry them until they are all wrinkled and have just a little squish to them.
How Long Do Dehydrated Grapes Last?
Homemade raisins that have been properly dried and stored in an airtight container in a dark place at room temperature can last up to two years. Though if I am being honest these are so popular in our house that they would never last that long.
If you know that you want to keep your raisins in long-term storage you can add an oxygen absorber to your jars to aid in the longevity. As with raisins that you purchase from the store the quality will begin to deteriorate over time. They will still be good to eat but the texture, taste, and sweetness will decline.
Are Raisins A Healthy Snack?
Yes. Raisins are a healthy snack option.
According to WedMD, “Raisins have higher levels of antioxidants than many other dried fruits. That’s because the drying process concentrates these antioxidants….Raisins are a good source of soluble fiber, which aids digestion and reduces stomach issues. Raisins also contain tartaric acid. Research shows this protein may have anti-inflammatory properties, improve intestinal function, and help regulate the balance of bacteria in your gut…They also have a moderately low glycemic index, which means they don’t cause sharp spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels. This can make them a good sweet snack option for people with diabetes.”
- Wash grapes
- Pierce the grape skin or cut grapes in half
- Place in single layer on dehydrator trays, cut side up
- Dry at 135-140 F for 18-48 hours
- Store in an airtight container up to 2 years in a dark, cool place