Sun-dried raisins are a delicious natural snack and an addition for many recipes, such as oatmeal raisin cookies. They’re not hard to make if you just follow these simple steps.
Start with fresh green or purple grapes.Be sure they are fresh, ripe, not mushy or otherwise blemished. Check them carefully.
2. Remove the larger stems from the grapes and wash them thoroughly.Do not remove all grapes from the stems. If you are unsure of their origin, a rinse in a diluted bleach solution (two drops household bleach in a quart of water) may be safer.
3. Place them on a tray.Use a wooden, wicker, bamboo, or plastic tray that is slatted, so air can circulate around the fruit.
4. Place them outside in a dry sunny place (this requires warm, dry weather).If your climate produces night fogs or dew, take the trays inside at night.
5. Let them sit out in the sun for 2-3 days, or until dry (taste test).Rotate the fruit and/or trays to ensure even exposure to the sun.
6. Remove dried grapes gently from the remaining stems and store in a dry airtight container in a cool place.
Watch for dampness or rot. If a few grapes go bad, remove them immediately from the tray and spread nearby fruit out to dry. Remember that drying grapes will shrivel up and get small, not turn to mush and rot.
Over-ripe grapes will take longer to dry and may rot before drying. It’s preferable to have slightly under-ripe, yet sweet, grapes.
Professional raisins are often dried by hanging bunches of grapes from a string or wire. This is harder than using a flat tray but works better as the fruit has maximum air exposure.
Warm air (such as a breeze) will help fruit dry faster. Place your drying trays in a southern exposure in the prevailing wind if possible.
Protect drying fruit from insects such as flies. Cover them lightly with cheesecloth (not plastic) or gauze if necessary.