How Long Should You Oven Dry Grapes For Homemade Raisins?

Hands holding grapes on vine
Hands holding grapes on vine - Studio4/Getty Images

Homemade raisins are a delicious and nutritious way to preserve that overabundance of grapes ripening on your backyard vines. There are a number of ways you can make them, too, from the old-fashioned method of leaving the fruit to dry in the sun to food dehydrators or your trusty oven.

Oven drying can be ideal for a couple of reasons. Maybe you don't own a dehydrator, or maybe you don't want to worry about chasing birds and other animals away from the exposed grapes for days on end. That's not to say that drying them in the oven will be super quick, but at least it won't take days. And, they will be in a controlled environment where they can't be squirreled away by the local wildlife. Expect your homemade raisins to take anywhere from three to eight hours or even longer, depending on which technique you use and how plump you want them to turn out.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Shortening Grape Drying Time

Small bunch of grapes next to pile of raisins
Small bunch of grapes next to pile of raisins - Chuanthit Kunlayanamitre/Shutterstock

Grapes that have simply been washed will take approximately eight hours to dry out in the oven. However, this timeframe isn't set in stone. Different variables can extend how long it will take the oven to turn your fresh grapes into raisins. Particularly large grapes will take longer, for example. If you want your raisins on the extra dry side, it can also take more time.

It is, however, possible to shorten the drying time significantly. You can do this by blanching the grapes first. This will break down the skins and cut the drying time by more than half to about three hours. The same effect can be reached by temporarily freezing the grapes. But, while this will break the skins, their cold temperature will mean slightly more time will be needed as they will have to defrost first before drying. You can also pierce the skins with a knife, though this hands-on method will be time-consuming. Extra large grapes can be cut in half to shorten their drying time.

Regardless of which (if any) of these methods you choose, the oven should be set at a very low heat so that the grapes dry out instead of cooking. Most recipes call for 225 degrees Fahrenheit, though some recommend as low as 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Storing And Using Homemade Raisins

Spoonful of raisins in front of jar of raisins
Spoonful of raisins in front of jar of raisins - Vanatchanan/Shutterstock

Homemade raisins can be stored in cupboards or pantries for up to six months, according to the USDA. Just make sure that they are in air-tight containers. You can also keep your raisins for up to six months in the refrigerator.

You'll certainly find plenty of uses for them in that time. Not only are homemade raisins delicious to snack on, but they make a great addition to baked goods. More than just raisin bread and oatmeal raisin cookies, they can be included in cinnamon rolls, muffins, bread pudding, and more. Their high fiber content will help you feel fuller faster and their sweetness can replace some of the need for extra sugars in your recipes. They're also excellent in salads and in cold or hot cereals, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat.

While it might seem like oven-drying grapes will be time intensive, the process will definitely be worth it. With so many uses, a long storage time, and high nutritional value, homemade raisins are a fantastic way to put those excess grapes to use.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.