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Homemade Raisins

Raisins in progress

There are two things that you should definitely try during the summer, when temperatures are high and you don’t really feel like cooking: baking cookies in your car and making homemade raisins. The former requires an 100F-or hotter day to work well. The latter simply requires a very warm sunny day, fresh grapes and patience.

Homemade raisins are easy to make and the finished product is well worth the effort. Raisins are formed when most of the water contained in a grape evaporates, leaving behind a slightly shriveled fruit that has a very high sugar content. They can take up to several days to dry out and go from “juicy grape” to “plump raisin,” and as long as you check on them once in a while, it is virtually impossible to over-dry them. Homemade grapes will almost always be more flavorful and sweeter than commercially produced raisins (although I’ve had some good ones at the farmers market before) because they’re fresher and still have enough of their natural moisture to keep them tender.

To make raisins, start with a bunch of fresh grapes. Rinse them well, and put them in a single layer on a flat surface. I use paper towel-lined baking racks, partially for cleanliness and primarily to increase the circulation of air to the fruit. Then, place the grapes out in full sunlight on a hot day and wait for the sun to do its work. I like to put a fine screen on top of the grapes to deter flies from approaching as they dry. The process will take about 4-6 days, depending on the weather and the sun exposure. Feel free to take the raisins inside at night, then put them out again in the morning.

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  • Hannah
    August 12, 2008

    Hmmm never though of making homemade raisins!

  • Lisa
    August 13, 2008

    I shouldn’t have pitched the grapes that my kids insisted I buy and then not eat and let shrivel up in the bowl on the counter 🙂 Next time (if there is a next time) I’ll try this. Thanks for the tip.

  • Mrs.Sound
    August 13, 2008

    Great job. Nice share here.

  • katie
    August 14, 2008

    Wow I would never have thought of making my own homemade raisins but i’m longing to give it a go now.

  • lionheart
    August 14, 2008

    yum! That sounds so good, I’m gonna try it.

  • Jeri
    August 16, 2008

    Our grapes are not ready and our days are already cooling off but I usually pick a bunch in the fall and dry them in the food dehydrator. I pack them in an air-tight bag and freeze them for winter use.

  • michale
    October 1, 2008

    hello; can i make raisins inside without a dehydrator or oven? our days are now only about 65 degrees. thanks.

  • chumpman
    January 13, 2009

    I had oats with raisins for breakfast in the morning and never come to the idea of making raisins on my own. Thanks for inspiration, would be interested to give a try in coming summer. Cheers

  • Steve
    March 31, 2009

    I also enjoy a nice cup of raisins along with some oatmeal and warm milk.

  • Sue
    August 11, 2009

    How do you de-stem the raisins? It’s a pain to remove them manually, one at a time.

  • Megan
    February 28, 2010

    Thanks, I’m moving to Florida this June and will definitely try this! I believe it’s much cheaper and healthier!

  • DonaAna
    June 21, 2011

    I accidentally made homemade raisins (forgot a bunch in the sun for several days) and they are the most delicious thing ever – sweet, complex, like a glass or rich red wine. I cannot understand how commercial raisins can be so flavorless. I will be making my own raisins from now on.

  • veronica
    March 25, 2012

    Hi. I would like to make craisins and raisins without sugar, however i do not have a woodstove or a dehydrater. Would a regular oven work? Can you give me any tips?

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