Make Delicious Raisins At Home With A Simple 3-Step Process

If you've ever forgotten about a bag of grapes in your fridge, you've probably witnessed firsthand the beginning of their transformation into raisins. Soft, wrinkly grapes with rubbery skin and a sickly sweet flavor may be destined for the trash, but why waste them? Why not help them complete their transformation from declining grapes to plump, moist raisins?

You can make delicious raisins at home with a simple three-step process that requires no fancy equipment and no preservatives or additives. The first step is to remove the grapes from their stems and rid them of any debris or visible dirt, which is a step that you would take when eating them raw.

The second step is to blanch the grapes in boiling water for 30 seconds before shocking them in an ice bath. Boiling the grapes will soften and loosen their waxy skin which allows the grapes to shrink and shrivel into raisins during the final step. Plunging the grapes in an ice bath simply halts the cooking process. If you want to rid the grapes of excess wax or pesticides, you can add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the ice water.

The final step is to spread the grapes evenly over a baking sheet and throw them in the oven to cook at the lowest temperature setting. Some recipes call for 190 degrees Fahrenheit while others recommend 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size of the grapes and oven temperature, cooking times range between 8 and 15 hours.

Homemade raisins vs store-bought raisins

By slow-cooking grapes in the oven, you'll maintain the integrity of their color while also creating a juicier texture and concentrating the grape's natural flavor. The sweet, fructose-filled juices that slowly seep out of grapes as they dry out become a caramelized coating for your homemade raisins, effectively adding more complexity. The syrupy coating also helps keep your raisins moist and plump.

Store-bought raisins aren't as vibrantly colored as homemade and are usually drier with a stronger raisin flavor. Homemade ones retain a more grape-like flavor. Of course, you can manipulate the slow-cooking process for more store-bought results by increasing the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which will reduce cooking time and dull the color.

You can use this homemade process on any type and size of grapes, from green to red and black, and you can use your raisins in cooking just as you would store-bought. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for the longest life spans. The drier you get your raisins, the longer they'll last. Slow-cooked juicier raisins will last around two weeks while ultra-dried raisins can last at least a month. While the juicier, caramelized raisins might not last as long as from a packet, their brightly colored hues and unique caramelized flavor open up different avenues for use. They make superior mix-ins for baked goods like cinnamon muffins, raisin bread, and sweet rolls. They'd also be perfect garnishes for cheese plates and savory salads.