I’m just going to come right out and say it – I think raisins get a bad rap. What’s isn’t there to like about raisins, I ask you? They’re sweet little bits of dried fruit deliciousness. (Sure, it can be a bit disappointing if you bite into a cookie expecting chocolate chips, only to find out that those dark bits are raisins, but that isn’t the raisins’ fault!) Not only are raisins a naturally sweet treat, they’re also a healthy choice, and are great to have in the kitchen to satisfy a sudden sweet tooth.
Since “raisin” is just a fancy name for dried grapes, I recently thought to myself, “Why doesn’t anyone just make their own raisins at home?” I thought I’d give it the old college try, and I was thrilled with the results! The raisins turned out big, juicy, and delicious! Much better than store-bought, hands down.
Here’s how you can make your own raisins at home, too. :-)
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How To Make Homemade Raisins
Start by purchasing a bag of your favorite seedless grapes. Any color or variety will do!
Before drying your grapes, you’ll want to blanch them. You can skip this step if you want, but blanching your grapes first softens the skins and helps them dry evenly. And it only takes a minute!
Drop your grapes, stems and all, into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Once the grapes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems and pat the grapes dry.
Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Now you’re ready to dry your grapes! You can do this 2 different ways.
The easiest and quickest way to turn your grapes into raisins is to dry them in your oven. Set your oven to 180 degrees (or as low as your oven will go,) and place your tray of grapes inside. Let the grapes sit in the oven for at least 5 hours, tossing them once or twice to ensure even drying.
Allow them to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
The second way to dry your grapes is to harness the power of the sun! Place a piece of cheesecloth over your tray of grapes and place it in a sunny location for 3-5 days. (We tried this method but didn’t have great results because the window we placed the tray in was not very sunny. If you have a window that gets consistent, direct sunlight, this method may work better for you!)
When your homemade raisins are ready, you can enjoy them in your morning oatmeal, as a healthy and delicious snack, or in a batch of warm, delicious cookies. Mmmmm. :-)
If you’re looking for a good raisin cookie recipe, here’s my grandma’s. These cookies are big, soft, and oh-so-delicious! (I grew up simply calling them “Grandma Cookies,” because whenever we went to visit her house, she always had them in a big tupperware container on top of the fridge.) One of my fondest memories!
What’s your favorite way to eat or use raisins?
GRANDMA'S RAISIN COOKIES
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- In a small saucepan, combine the raisins and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture.
- Stir in nuts and raisins with liquid.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets.
- Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove to wire racks to cool.