When I was little I dreamed of someday having a pergola covered in grapevines. I'm not quite sure why I thought it was so fancy or wonderful, but when we bought our home it already had a pergola, so I just had to plant grapes. This is the third year that we have been able to enjoy both shade and fruit from that little vine. Ronan loves to lay on the outdoor bed and eat freshly picked grapes by the fistful. Overall, I'd have to say this pergola dripping in delicious grapes really is a dream come true.
This year we have been enjoying an extra bountiful grape harvest and I was starting to wonder what to do with all that fruit! Grape jelly isn't really my jam, but I do buy raisins in bulk. So Jude and I set out to see if we could make our own raisins. We decided sun drying would be really tough, because we have a serious raccoon problem. And we don't have a dehydrator, so that left the oven. They came out so yummy and they were so easy to make, I just had to share the "recipe" with you.
This a great project to do with kids and if you grow your own grapes, it's an awesome way to get almost free organic raisins! One word of warning: it does take about 12-18 hours in a low oven, so don't plan on making raisins and baking bread on the same day!
How To Make Raisins In An Oven
1. Wash your grapes and pull them from their stems, discard any yucky ones.
2. Blanch your grapes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then place them in an ice bath or rinse them under cold water.
3. Line a baking sheet (or two) in parchment paper and spread the grapes evenly in a single layer.
4. Bake on your oven's lowest setting (mine was 170 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 12-18 hours. Turn your grapes at least once and check them at 12 hours, if they look like raisins, they're done!
5. Enjoy delicious homemade raisins!! Store any you don't eat right away in an airtight container.
Jude and I used some if ours to make healthy oatmeal cookies for his kindergarten class, he was so excited to tell his friends that he had made the raisins!
Here's to homegrown and handmade!