Make your own delicious, beautiful raisins

raisins recipe
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Why you should make your own raisins and how to do it with little more than grapes, a baking sheet, and your oven.

Why would anyone want to make raisins when they are so readily available to buy from the store? If you're an obsessive do-it-yourselfer, you know the answer. But if you need convincing, consider this:

• Store-bought raisins are fine, but very limited. When you make them at home you can choose the variety of grape and the texture – from dry and chewy to plump and juicy.

• You can also ensure that you're eating fruit that lives up to your standards; local, organic, etc.

• If you have grapes growing in your garden, it's a lovely way to preserve them.

• Likewise, if you bought more grapes than you will end up eating, it will save them from going to waste.

• They have better flavor, you can make a beautiful mix, and things that you make taste better just for the fact of having made them yourself.

• Plus, bragging rights, if you swing that way.

My descent into the realm of homemade raisins was sparked by two things. In my adventures of roasting whole fruits and vegetables, I discovered how smitten I was with roasted grapes. (They are amazing.) Meanwhile, I had seen raisins dried on the stem at Eataly and thought they were one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen in a produce aisle. The price, however, was prohibitive. It wasn't a huge leap to put two and two together and start making my own.

While I haven't exactly codified my raisin-making recipe yet – so far: "put on baking sheet, put in oven at some low temperatue nudging them aound for an unspecified amount of time until they're are some degree of done" – I just stumbled upon Daniel Gritzer's recipe at Serious Eats and will allow him to do the heavy lifting for me. Here's his method:

Oven-Dried Grapes (a.k.a. Raisins)

• 3 large bunches seedless grapes, preferably mixed colors, stemmed
• Vegetable or canola oil, for greasing

1. Preheat oven to 225°F (110°C). Very lightly grease 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil, then scatter grapes all over. Bake, checking periodically for doneness, until grapes are nicely shriveled and semi-dried but still slightly plump, about 4 hours. (The exact time will depend on your grapes, your oven, and your preferred degree of dryness.) Let cool. Use a thin metal spatula to free any grapes that are stuck to the baking sheet.

2. The dried grapes can be refrigerated in a sealed container for about 3 weeks. (How long they keep will also depend on their degree of dryness; drier grapes will keep longer.)

You can also experiment with a higher oven temperature – as high as 300°F – for a shorter cooking time. And after that, what's next? I've already done tomatoes and all kinds of other weird things, but I do have a box of blueberries in the refrigerator that may be in need of adventure...

Make your own delicious, beautiful raisins
Why you should make your own raisins and how to do it with little more than grapes, a baking sheet, and your oven.

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