[GUIDE] How to make raisins at home

how to make raisins

Making raisins at home couldn’t be easier and the results are very tasty indeed. You can make them by drying grapes in the sun, in an oven or in a dehydrator.

Any grape will do but some do make better raisins than others. Varieties like Corinth make the sweetest tasting currants while green and red grapes make equally tasty raisins.

Raisins, sultanas and currants – are they all made from grapes & what’s the difference?

Yes, raisins, sultanas and currants are all made from grapes, the difference is in the type of grape you use and how they have been dried.

  • Raisins are grapes that have been dried over a period of time, usually 3 weeks. They can be red or green grapes. Both of which turn brown in the sun.
  • Sultanas are made from green seedless grapes and are treated before the drying process with an oil based solution.
  • Currants are made by drying either Black Corinth or Carina grapes which a small, black and sweet.

As you can see all three are made from grapes, they are just created in slightly different ways. Raisins, sultanas and currants are all very nutritious and are a great addition to your diet.

They also taste great! Making your own raisins from scratch is very rewarding because their flavor is so much more intense. When any foods are mass produced they can loose some qualities and flavors, this is also true of raisins.

What kind of grapes make raisins?

Different grapes will make different types of raisins, sultanas or currants. The way they are dried can also change their flavor making them more sweet or less juicy.

Black varieties

Varieties like Corinth a usually slightly smaller and sweeter than your usual red or green varieties. Black grapes are used for making currants which are sweeter and juicier than raisins & sultanas.

Red grapes

These are sweet and juicy making them perfect for drying out into tasty raisins. Flame seedless red grapes are often used to make raisins in particular. They are a large and sweet variety with a dark red skin.

Green grapes

They are often used in the Sultana making process, the Thompson seedless varieties more specifically. This variety of grape is also used for creating most commercial ‘Californian’ raisins.

Thompson seedless grapes

Thompson seedless grapes are used to make most commercial raisins. They are sun dried over a period of about 3 weeks. This technique is also possible to do during the summer months at home.

Do sun dried raisins taste better?

Yes, they taste better and here’s why. Using other methods such as oven drying require a higher temperature. At high temperatures the sugars inside the grapes can caramelize and harden.

Whilst some people do enjoy the flavor, it can lead to slightly less juicy and tasteful raisins.

What’s the difference between yellow and black raisins?

  • Black raisins are naturally dried and are usually larger than sultanas or yellow/golden raisins
  • Yellow or Golden raisins are treated before drying with an oil based solution that is used to help speed up the drying process

Are raisins good for you?

Yes, raisins are very nutritional! So are sultanas and currants, they are full of vitamins and are a great source of fiber. When a grape is dried it shrinks, although smaller the dried berry still has the same nutritional content as a fresh grape.

This means that weight for weight raisins have around 4x the nutritional value of grapes.

Raisins, sultanas and currants contain also good amounts of antioxidants and potassium. Potassium is vital in your bodies regulation of fluids.

The nutritional value of a raisin

Below is the average nutritional value of raisins, sultanas and currants. They are very similar in their nutrient content and a handful a day can offer some fantastic & consistent substance.

Average per berryRaisinsSultanasCurrants
Calories9510679
Carbohydrates22g22g21g
Protein1g1g1g
Fat0g0g0g
Fibre1g2g2g
Sugar17g21g19g
Potassium6% RDI8% RDI7% RDI
Vitamin C1% RDI1% RDI2% RDI
Vitamin K1% RDI1% RDI1% RDI

The benefits of eating raisins, currants and sultana’s

Regular consumption of raisins is good for your health, fiber is crucial to a healthy gut. It keeps your bowels moving which is essential in staving off things like prostate or bowel cancer and other digestive issues.

Roughly one cup per day will give you 10%-25% of your daily recommended intake of fiber.

Do raisins make you fart more?

The fiber content in raisins can make your bowels move more regularly. This in turn can lead to an increase in flatulence (you will fart more)!

Raisins are also a good source of iron, calcium & boron

In an ever growing world of vegetarians and vegans raisins may very well find a welcome home. As a great source of iron, just one cup of raisins will help with your bodies daily iron requirements.

Calcium and boron are also present in raisins, currants & sultanas. These are both crucial in the bodies development and maintenance of bones.

How long does it take to make raisins?

  • Sun dried raisins can take 3 weeks
  • Oven dried raisins are ready in as little as 12 hours
  • A dehydrator will take 24 hours to make raisins

How many grapes do I need to make raisins?

There’s no wrong or right amount when it comes to making currants and raisins. The only important thing to remember is that it is good to leave space between the grapes as they dry. Take this into account when figuring out how many your going to make.

If they touch it can lead to less air circulation which will lead the grapes to rot instead of dry.

As a guide around 2 kg of grapes will make around 500 grams of raisins after drying.

Making raisins from grapes at home

There are a few ways to make raisins at home. To do this so you can pick and choose according to your preference. You can make raisins by leaving them in the sun, by using a dehydrator or quickly in the oven.

We’re going to cover all three ways here. Our personal favorite at The Backyard Farm is to dry them in the sun. Doing them this way retains the flavor better and doesn’t caramelize the sugars.

How to make raisins in the sun

This process needs 3 weeks of warm to hot sun, anything less than this will likely end in rotten grapes not raisins. In the UK you can normally make sun dried fruits from the end of April to August provided it’s dry.

In warmer climates you may be able to do this all year round, ideally over 20c.

  1. Wash your grapes and dry them thoroughly
  2. Set them out on a baking tray or wire rack
  3. Cover with a clean and dry tea towel
  4. Leave on a windowsill or garden area where they will receive some airflow and plenty of direct sunlight
  5. Leave for up to 3 weeks to dry out
  6. Check in and turn them every few days and harvest when ready

How to make raisins in the oven

Oven made raisins are good if you need them in a fix. Doing raisins like this makes them quickly at the sacrifice of their fruitiness and juiciness.

  1. Pre-heat your oven to around 100c (fan assisted ovens are the best for this)
  2. Wash your grapes and dry them thoroughly
  3. Set them out on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper with space between them
  4. Place the grapes in the lower half of the oven, the slower the process the better the flavor of the raisins
  5. Leave them in the oven for 4 hours.
  6. If they look good remove them from the oven or leave a little longer
  7. Remove the grapes from the oven and allow them to cool. Take them off the baking tray to help them cool faster

How to make raisins in a dehydrator

Making your raisins in a dehydrator is the happy medium between time & taste. Drying grapes like this preserves the flavor and its quick.

  1. Wash your grapes and dry them thoroughly
  2. Set them out on the trays from your dehydrator
  3. Close the unit and set it to 60c
  4. Leave them to dry for 24 hours
  5. Rotate the trays every 2-4 hours where possible
  6. Check after 24 hours, remove and store your new tasty treats!

How to store raisins, sultanas and currants

To keep your dried berries fresh and tasty they are best stored in an airtight container like a glass mason jar or a jam jar. Stored like this in a cupboard or pantry raisins, currant sand sultanas will keep for anywhere up to 6 months.

Sources

https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-7/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0373dxx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raisin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultana_(grape)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grape

Fred

Author and Co-coordinator of The Back-Yard Farm. Hoping to change peoples attitude towards food consumption by documenting this journey right here. Join the Foodscaping backyard revolution

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