Sep 14, 2010

257- Raisin Making 101

Each year I've tried to figure out what to do with the plethora of grapes my vines produce.  I've tried-
  • Raisins the hard way (blanch them first) then use a dehydrator (borrowed).  They were tart and not so tasty.
  • Grape juice (it looks like green pea soup... I'm not joking!  Come look in my fruit dungeon!)
  • Sun-dried raisins (yeah that lasted 24 hours and they got rained on!)
  • Raisins done in the dehydrator, sweet product, yummy results!  Eureka!
Last year I bought a second dehydrator after my sun-dried raisin experiment failed so I could deal with the mountain of grapes I dragged in of my deck. (Click on the grapes label if you want to read all the drama!)

I love raisins!  I love them in cinnamon rolls, but mostly I love them in my morning oatmeal!  Sad... I ran out of home-made raisins about 6 months ago.

So this year I was all ready to really go to town and put in my year's supply of raisins!  I started by picking a googlin of grapes (to be more specific 9 buckets full, of which I've given 2 buckets full away, bucket and all.)

I do my very scientific wash consisting of: filling my big kitchen sink full of water, dump in one bucket of grapes, agitate gently, carefully remove to extra large colander while sorting out leaves and stowaway insects.

Of course then all those happy little *bobbers* have to be removed from the stems. Yes, it is mindless work, but that's ok... I can be mindless especially if Gordon helps or I have something to listen to on my MP3 player. Then you put them on the dehydrator racks.

257- raisin making 1

But here is what I wish I'd known before I bought my second dehydrator... dehydrators are not all created equal! This is the Nesco FD60 and the air circulates down the sides and it is 500 watts.  I have even drying and a batch takes a little less than 24 hours.

257- raisin making 2

This one is the Nesco FD35 and it blows the air down the middle. It tends to dry unevenly getting the ones in the middle crispy and the ones on the outside still not totally raisin-ified.

257- raisin making 3

After about 24 hours this is what you will have... yummy raisins! I spread them on my large cookie sheet to cool and let them air dry for an unspecified amount of time.

257- raisin making 4

Then I package them in 1-gallon Ziploc bags for storage. I stored them in the freezer last year until I needed to refill my raisin canister just to make sure that all my hard work stayed good.  I think I'm about half way through my plan... bet you know what I'll be doing every day this week!

257- raisin making 5

1 comment:

Dean and Sheri said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I've been thinking about buying a dehydrator and now I know a good model to look into! I also love your previous post...beautiful photos. If I were there I'd love to help you with the "mindless" work. That's what I do best. =)
Love ya, Joanie Balonie.