Drying Your Own Grapes

Grape success!grapes
How to dry your own grapes for year round use.

Since buying a dehydrator, I have been enjoying drying the surplus from the garden and making the most of the bounty in the markets by drying vegies and fruit when they are economical to buy.I started with apples and quickly moved to mango and plums as the seasons progressed. Now, in March, grapes are just delici
ous and cheap, so I’ve branched into drying them too.

Whether you have a dehydrator or not, you can dry your own grapes.
Drying your own means
1. They are not dipped in sulphur which can cause trouble with asthmatics
2. Buy or grow organic and they are completely chemical free
and most wonderful of all,
3. they are like no other dried grape/sultana/raisin you have ever tasted. Each one is plump, juicy and a joy to eat.

Here is how to dry them. Harvest or purchase your choice of grapes when they are full and sweet. I have used red seedless, sultanas and my favourite Muscatels. Remember, muscatels have seeds.Rinse them in fresh water.  If you are concerned about removing pesticides and dirt, you may use a vegie wash product such as Safeguard fruit & Veggie Wash.Shake the bunches free from water and drain on a biscuit cooling rack for a few minutes. I leave the muscatels on the stems to serve with cheese or dip platters. The others I remove from the stems so I can pop a handful in my mouth or use them in recipes.

Lay the grapes in a single layer on a dehydrator rack or on biscuit trays if you wish to dry them in the sun.For dehydrators, put them on racks into the machine at 114C for 12 hours. Check, move them around to loosen and turn the grapes and put back in for another 12-18 hours. Taste test them every few hours or so the second time in, to test for ‘dryness’. They will be soft, pliable and juicy in the middle, not watery. They can be finished off in the sun a few days instead of a couple of hours in the dehydrator

Outdoors, lay them on racks in the sun to dry. You’ll need to protect them from insects and dirt with a fine cover that allows air movement. A net is good. Bring them in each night to protect from possums and dew. This process will take up to a week.

When sufficiently dried, the grapes will be juicy, pliable/leathery and plump. Store in a jar in a cool spot out of sunlight.

The shop bought ones are at left. My juicy red grapes are on the right. YUM!

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