Sunday, March 3, 2013

DIY Raisins

Over the years I've been exhorted to make my own hot sauce, vinegarketchupmustard, etc. (Yeah, mayonnaise too, but since mayonnaise repulses everyone in my family, we tune out any mention of this dreaded substance.) So far, I've avoided all those DIY (do-it-yourself) ideas.

Two recent images, however, suggested a different kind of DIY project:

Here's the first image - not-so-fresh grapes:

We all wither at times

And here's the second - the "exotic fruit" section of a gourmet store:

Lookin' tasty! But wait - I really need to show the full image.

Hanging out with our buddies rambutan and star fruit

Yes, $15/lb. Hmmm, I thought, I had some grapes that were already en route to raisindom. Perhaps I could help them along? 

My first thought for past-their-prime grapes is roasting. Nevertheless I was interested in exploring this other option.

I washed and shook the water off the grapes and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet. I set the oven at around 100 - 150 degrees (in the mystery unmarked zone on my oven knob).

I had never baked anything at such a low temperature, and I wasn't sure how long the cooking time would last. After two hours the grapes looked both withered and rounder. The kitchen smelled faintly of roasted grapes.

I checked in on the grapes every half hour or so. I finally called it quits at about the 4 hour mark, when the grapes looked like this.

It was late by then, so I put the grape-raisins in a bag for examination the next day. I wasn't sure if they had fully attained dried fruit status, so I decided to refrigerate them to prevent rot.

The verdict the next morning: they were probably the best raisins I've ever had in my life. They were plump. They were succulent. Their flavor was superb. That having been said, I would still opt for roasting my tired and poor grapes. But I understand not everyone is as much of roasting fanatic as I am.

I made enough DIY raisins to share with my friend Rose, so I can say truthfully that they make a lovely gift.  

They were also a popular snack paired with almonds, and an attractive addition to a cheese board.

As I've mentioned previously, red grapes have a host of health benefits. Here's a great way to add them to your diet -- and get some DIY street cred at the same time.


  1. Interesting idea for clapped-out grapes. Why did you like the roasted grapes better?

  2. I love the complexity of the roasted grapes' flavor. I mainly enjoy raisins in oatmeal (I plump them overnight in water before using them) and baked in breads. I know many people - not just kids - whose fruit consumption is made up almost entirely of raisins, so I'm sure they would disagree with my preferences.