How to Make Raisins from Fresh Grapes

Raisins are dried grapes, this we know.

Making raisins from fresh grapes involves only one small step, yet — if you’re like me — few of us have ever tried the process at home.

This year, since we are experiencing somewhat of a bumper crop of grapes coming from our tiny backyard vineyard, the children and I decided it would be fun to give raisin-making a shot. Talking advantage of our 105+ temperatures here in Phoenix, we set out on this new discovery!

Making Raisins

Using a large pizza pan — a small wire cooling rack or window screen are great options too — I placed our bunches of grapes outside and let the sun’s free energy get to work!

Approximately twice a day I’d go out and turn the bunches of grapes from side-to-side.

Fresh grapes contain about 80% water and as you can imagine dehydrating them takes a while — like 4-5 days. But the results are so worth it…if you’re patient. These grapes in the picture above are at the end of full day in the sun. You can see that just a couple are starting to turn.

Here we are at day 5. Now we’re talkin’! Sweet, yummy, and homemade…raisin victory :)

You’ll want to dry them on intact and then remove the stems after drying before storing. I like to store them for the long-term in mylar bags or glass canning jars with an oxygen absorber.

The quality of dried grapes — as opposed to those that commercially-prepared — is excellent!  And certainly one of the best ways to preserve grapes, in my opinion. Not only is the taste AMAZING, but this is a super fun, and cheap, summer project for the children.

For best the results, use seedless grapes. Additionally, I don’t recommend that you sun-dry grapes in areas of the world that experience high levels of humidity. Instead you may want to dry your grapes in a dehydrator. You can also set your oven to a temp of 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit and leave them to dry for up to 24 hours, turning them 3-4 times through the process.

How about you…have you ever tried your hand at raisin making?

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Comments

  1. Looks brilliant! Did you use seedless grapes – thus giving you seedless raisins?

  2. Reblogging….I have been subscribed and appreciated many of your ideas…this one seemed perfect to share. We have some grape growing and wine production here, but I know there are many home gardeners who grow grapes and have never considered drying them. Thanks!

  3. How cool! DD and I were just talking about turning grapes to raisins the other day but we don’t ever have any left over (mostly since we don’t have our own vines).

  4. WOW! For some reason, this never entered my mind as something I could do. LOL :-)

  5. If you dehydrated the grapes WITH the seeds you will have a powerful dried fruit :) The seed is worth it’s weight in gold (so to speak) for health reasons I’ve been told…

  6. Cool project. I used to teach high school, and we were reading “A Raisin in the Sun” and talking about how the characters are dried up like grapes. One of my students asked why we kept talking about grapes and raisins so much. She didn’t know that raisins were actually dried up grapes. So sad! May all children know where raisins come from :)

  7. Are there options for homemade grapes if you live in a moderate climate (high 68, low in 50s), don’t have a dehydrator and have an oven that doesn’t go that low? LOL, the last time I tried to dehydrate something in the oven (lowest temp, door open), I cooked it after only two hours. What would happen if I put them outside? Would they just get gross?

    • hi Tiffany,

      before I had a dehydrator I dried some blueberries. I’d put a frame with gauze (the thing you can put in a window to keep mosquitos outside) on 2 supports before an open window on the top floor. I spread the berries on it an whenever possible opened the window on the other side of the house to get an airflow. Though the summer wasn’t good (I’m from Belgium) they dried beautiful.

      good luck,
      Vera

    • Similarly, you can get a couple furnace filters (plant fiber-based, not fiberglass), strap them to a box fan with a bungee cord, set it in a window pointing out, and turn it on high. That’s how Alton Brown makes jerky, and I’m guessing it’d work to dry anything.

  8. Hi,
    I’ve been waiting for your post on making raisins and here it is. The grapes are still growing, but very interested in making raisins with them. Made grape jelly last year and grape juice. Thank you for the update. I will most likely use a dehydrater to make the raisins. In fact, I just used the dehydrater to dry peas from the garden.

  9. JC Allen says:

    Yes, I’ve done this several times over the years. Try this one, if you dare: Spray the grapes 1/3 of the way through the drying process, with Rum. I used the alcohol type but I would imagine the flavoring type would be okay. The alcohol dries/burns off in the process. Then they are great in cookies, muffins, hot oatmeal, dark green salad, etc.

  10. The grapes will dry much faster in a dehydrator if you “check” them, which means blanch them for about a minute, then cool immediately in cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. The first time I dehydrated them, I read the “check” the grapes, so I looked them over. After a couple of days in the dehydrator and they were still not done, I went back and re-read the instructions. It said check the grapes for about 30 to 60 seconds, and I thought to myself, well, why would they tell me how long to look over my grapes? So I went back and read some more and discovered check means blanch. Even old ladies can learn new things ;-)

  11. I love your site Frugally Sustainable. I have been trying some of your recipes around my home and I love them. I just have a question about making raisins. If you make them outside….how do you keep bugs….gnats, flies and ants from contaminating them? I don’t have a dehydrator anymore so right now …the outside method would probably be the way I would do it. Thanks so much. Deb

  12. Great idea. My kids are growing grapes (muscadines) now. This will be a great project. But in Alabama, I know they’ll need to do the oven thing since they don’t have a dehydrator YET!

    I loved the comment and learned about “checking” the grapes.

    Love your site and articles.

  13. What a Great idea, never tried doing this before, thans

  14. What a Great idea, never tried doing this before, thanks

  15. I haven’t, but Phoenix would be the place. I miss the desert! Here in E. TN, I have a dehydrator on the list – and you couldn’t leave them out without a lot of bugs getting them here, either.

  16. LOVE this post. My grandmother used recycled door and window screens to dehydrate all sorts of fruits. We live in very-DRY Eastern Washington state and I still remember her stacks of screens in the back yard. She is my inspiration for attempting homemaking/homesteading these days, although I’ll NEVER equal her incredible wisdom and knowledge on the subject!

  17. Jacqueline Henderson says:

    If you don’t have a dehydrator and/or your oven settings don’t go that low you can always put them on those inexpensive window screens and use your car.

  18. My mom has her window screen for drying in AZ, on a frame with 4 legs, kind of like a table without the top. Ants outdoors can be a problem. She said she gets good results by placing each table leg in a saucer of water and no ants can get to the grapes above.

  19. Here’s a twist on the making of raisins. I did this same thing but I “dehydrated” mine in my refrigerator this past winter as an experiment, and while yes, it did take longer to produce raisins, I found them to be excellent. I decided to remove them from the stems though and I put mine on one of those splatter screen lids use for frying foods in pans and set them atop an shallow aluminum pan in the refrigerator, turning them occasionally as they dried. As stated before it took a bit longer than the heat method but the results were great!

  20. You know how hot your car gets in the summer in sunny weather? Well, you can place your grapes, blueberries, even tomatoes on a tray (sprinkle a little salt on the tomatoes first to prevent mold) and put it on the dashboard or on a seat of your parked car where the sun hits, leaving the windows shut. Your raisins etc. will be dry surprisingly fast!

  21. Thank you! thank you!…I have grapes running out my back yard this year wish I could share some with everyone on here. I am gonna do this today and post results after.
    Happy drying everyone.

  22. I find that they dry a lot faster in the dehydrator if you cut them in half. I tried doing them whole and they took 3-4 days to dehydrate. Then I figured the skins were holding the moisture inside the grapes and slowing down the process, so I cut them in half and put them in the dehydrator. It only took overnight in the dehydrator to get them very dry and they tasted just the same as intact raisins.

  23. If your oven temperature won’t go that low, put them in your oven and turn on the oven light and close the door. The light heats up your oven nicely. I never gave raisins a thought until my niece recommended trying them, but I have made fruit leather.

  24. I’m a homeschooling mother with 3 boys and I seen this project in the FoodNetwork Magazine. So we decided to try it. They used the oven method @ 200 for 2hrs. Not sure what we did wrong, but after 2 hours it looked like there was still lots of moisture. We upped the temp thinking it would dry out faster and then lowered it and left it overnight. The shrank some more but not like the dehydrated ones. So after reading some your site and some others, we are going to try our method one more time. We are open to Amy suggestions.

  25. I have done a couple of dehydrating projects like eggs and tree fruit when I have had excesses before. They all seem to work really well. Must be nature’s way!. The blanching/ checking suggestion was excellent. Also the cutting in half. I have found that if you try to dry things too quickly it dries the surface but traps moisture inside. It takes some time for the moisture to flow through the material to the surface where it can evaporate. I also like to dip fruit quickly through a dilution of Ascorbic acid aka Vitamin C (Fruit Fresh or the juice from Pineapples, Mandarin Oranges, etc.) to prevent browning/ oxidation. It would be less visible with Grapes, but still there, and would help them keep even longer. Also, when I read about the window screen drying trays I had the thought that covering the top and sides of a simple box shaped frame with the same screen would keep bugs out and still let the drying take place without using electricity. I am going to make one right now (with the legs in bowls of water). I love these sites and blogs! Thanks.

    • Hallow Scott,would you please share the picture of the way that box looks like to help us “in the third world” on how best we can dry our grapes.(Davy from Tanzania)

  26. This is great,we are running a 300 acres grapes farm in Dodoma ,Tanzania.All produce are sold for wine making.Today i got something else to add in the chain.God bless you for sharing this brilliant technique.

  27. I have succesfully made raisins from grapes in the office – took around 2-3 weeks as humidity levels I guess are slightly higher in the UK than others. A fun little project to break up the working week. Can anyone give tips on how to speed up this process.

    Thanks!

  28. Good job♥

  29. Thanks for telling us how to make the raisens. Am going to try now. Had a really super crop this season.

  30. I always stopped myself from buying too many grapes at the store, since I like them a lot, but always ended up throwing a lot if them away after they got soft. Now I can turn those into raisins and will be buying more and more grapes. Lol
    Thank you for posting.

  31. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-and-Use-a-Solar-Oven

    A solar oven is faster, free, and the birds do not get into them.

  32. I am going to work with store bought grapes and solar oven designs (vented to 165 to 170 for 24 hours) all summer . When my grapes come in in the fall, I will be ready. Fun project ! Thank you for the initial idea of making raises, then the next idea of “Instead you may want to dry your grapes in a dehydrator. You can also set your oven to a temp of 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit and leave them to dry for up to 24 hours, turning them 3-4 times through the process.” This is a good idea except it is too expensive and not green. It is good because it leads to the idea of “Solar ovens cooled to 165! Again, it is a fun project. I will post with video in the fall !!!

Mountain Rose Herbs

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