Home-made raisins

@Fleura (13897)
United Kingdom
January 5, 2021 3:38pm CST
I meant to post about these before, but I forgot. We were given a grape vine by my partner’s parents as a housewarming gift when we moved just over 4 years ago. It’s a vine called ‘Lakemont’ that produces seedless green grapes. The first year it was just getting settled in. The second year it produced a few bunches. Last year (2019 I mean!) it produced quite a lot but many of the grapes were rather small. I know that to produce the best grapes we should restrict it to only two bunches per branch, and only two or three branches. And then thin out the grapes within the actual bunches. The catch is that we don’t only grow it for fruit, but also to cover a pergola and provide shade, so we can’t prune it in the traditional Guyot style. It covers supports about 10 by 12 feet, so of course it produces lots of bunches of grapes and I’m too soft-hearted to prune them off. This year I decided to try harder. I did trim away the more weedy-looking bunches, and those that were growing in too shady a corner. I thinned out parts that were looking a bit wizened (the chickens enjoyed those!). And I gave it more water. I didn’t want to use a lot of extra water so instead I just saved any water from rinsing vegetables or just running the tap to get the hot water and then tipped a bucket or three on it every day (luckily it’s not far from the door!) The results were pretty good. We got a LOT of bunches of decent-sized grapes, and they were very tasty. We picked a couple of bunches for us every day, gave bunches away to friends, and this went on for about three weeks. But then they couldn’t wait any longer, they were dropping off so I had to pick all the rest. And of course we wouldn’t be able to eat them all before they went bad. I thought about pressing them for juice, but we wouldn’t be able to store that for long either. I already have a cupboard full of preserves so no need for grape jelly, and my partner gave up drinking about three years ago so no point in making wine if I’d have to drink gallons of it all by myself! So I thought I would try making raisins. After all they were presumably invented by the ancients when faced with the same problem of how to store a glut of produce. I picked the grapes off their stalks and spread them out on a tray covered with grease-proof paper. Then I put them in a cool oven for several hours. The results were good! At first I just tried a few, but they were a success so I did all the rest in batches. The time required varied according to how many I did at once but if it wasn’t quite long enough I could just pop them back for another hour or two. We ended up with quite a big bag full, but by now they have just about all been eaten. I wouldn’t bother making these if I had to buy the fruit unless there was something really special about them, as they would be more expensive than just buying raisins, especially when you take into account fuel costs to dry them. But since we had masses of grapes and we also have a monster gas range which is on all the time anyway, it made sense, and the results were great. Will definitely do it again this year! All rights reserved. © Text and image copyright Fleur 2021.
20 people like this
19 responses
@DianneN (219014)
• United States
5 Jan
What a wonderful idea! They look so good in your photo, too. Your pergola sounds like heaven to me, too, and must look so beautiful with the hanging grapes.
2 people like this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
Thanks! Yes I've been pretty pleased with the grapevine-pergola combination all round. Especially this summer of course, I could sit under there and imagine I really was on holiday in Greece or somewhere and not in lockdown UK. I may well be doing the same again this year : (
1 person likes this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan
@DianneN The smallest fermentation vessels are one gallon (six bottles) so it's difficult to make less than that.
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@DianneN (219014)
• United States
7 Jan
@Fleura He used what he had and made blackberry brandy, too.
1 person likes this
@much2say (46985)
• Los Angeles, California
5 Jan
Those raisins look so perfect! You found a tasty way to use up your bountiful harvest. I would love to even grow grapes successfully . . . I've ruined a few potentials.
2 people like this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
What part of the country do you live in?
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@much2say (46985)
• Los Angeles, California
5 Jan
@Fleura I'm in Southern California. And I'm not the greatest gardener .
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
@much2say I would have thought they would do well there. Once they get settled in they just grow like crazy, even here, I have to prune it several times over the summer (and eat stuffed vine leaves lol). Maybe you could try again. Does anyone in your neighbourhood grow grapes?
1 person likes this
@kaylachan (13479)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
5 Jan
Glad you were able to figure out what to do with all those grapes.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
It's one of those things that makes you wonder 'Why didn't I think of that before?'
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@kaylachan (13479)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
5 Jan
@Fleura Yeah, apparently. You're doing it now, so.... and doesn't sound like it'll go to waste.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
@kaylachan I just managed to take a photo before we ate the last of them!
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@xFiacre (9010)
• Ireland
5 Jan
@fleura Very enterprising - hats off to you. Never knew it was so easy to turn grapes into raisins.
2 people like this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
I'd never even heard of anyone doing it before and yet, when you think about it, how hard can it be? Obviously would be even easier if you live in a part of the world where you can make the genuine sun-dried article (although I guess you may need to chase off birds).
2 people like this
@ZedSmart (16467)
• Philippines
5 Jan
@Fleura I think you can cover it with screens so that those birds couldn't catch it before you.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
@ZedSmart Of course - another obvious 'why didn't I think of that?' sort of moment!
@paigea (33246)
• Canada
5 Jan
Sounds delicious. Well worth doing if you have the fruit.
2 people like this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
Yes they worked out really well. I don't think it would be so easy of they were not seedless though.
1 person likes this
@CarolDM (117320)
• Nashville, Tennessee
5 Jan
Wow you did an excellent job. I have never had homemade raisins.
2 people like this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
Neither had I - or even thought of making any before. Will definitely do it again though.
2 people like this
@RebeccasFarm (22292)
• Denver, Colorado
6 Jan
Lovely Fleur you did great there with those..I love raisins.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
Me too, and many other dried fruits. Prunes are my favourite.
1 person likes this
• Denver, Colorado
6 Jan
@Fleura I love prunes with home made custard
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
@RebeccasFarm I like them just as they are. I even find that they satisfy my urge to eat chocolate!
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@MALUSE (64336)
• Germany
23 Feb
You've become quite the expert!
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
23 Feb
They were pretty good, will definitely do it again, it was really quite straightforward.
@MALUSE (64336)
• Germany
23 Feb
@Fleura Do you eat the raisins as snacks or do you do anything with them?
1 person likes this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
23 Feb
@MALUSE Most of them just got eaten but some went into cakes and salads.
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@moffittjc (93165)
• Gainesville, Florida
10 Jan
Those raisins look amazing! I hope they tasted as good as they look in the photo.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
10 Jan
They were a big success! Will be making more next harvest-time.
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@moffittjc (93165)
• Gainesville, Florida
11 Jan
@Fleura Good thing you like raisins! I know many people who don’t like them. I think they are delicious.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
11 Jan
@moffittjc The only person I know who doesn't like them is Little One - all the other children at her nursery used to get a mini box full as a snack but I got to eat hers!
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@ZedSmart (16467)
• Philippines
5 Jan
Is it possible for you to sell your produce? Anyway sharing ii with others is already great.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan
Not really, there isn't enough to make it worth setting everything up. Anyway I have several friends with several hungry children each, that usually solves the problem! And if there's still too much, I offer things on Freegle.
1 person likes this
@ZedSmart (16467)
• Philippines
5 Jan
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@Tampa_girl7 (44489)
• United States
28 Jan
I’ve never tried to make raisins. They look good.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
28 Jan
They were! I've never tried before either.
@salimo (1103)
• Fez, Morocco
9 Jan
The dried raisin is a very delicious fruit especially when it cooked with chicken and meat .
1 person likes this
@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
9 Jan
Yes I do like meat and fruit combinations. Here we often have a fruit sauce with meat - pork with apple sauce, turkey with cranberry sauce or duck with orange sauce for example.
@lazydaizee (2867)
• United Kingdom
8 Jan
We used to grow grapes on a fence in our back garden. Then one year we had a wet summer and the grapes went mouldy, after that we removed the fence and did not replant the grape vine.
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (25743)
8 Jan
Those grapes look like tasty chocolates in your photo. Well, I heard grapes referred to as nature's candy Quite a production but I bet the results are sweet
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
8 Jan
I've not heard that before but yes, they were very sweet. The only drawback was that they were more sticky than shop-bought ones.
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@jaboUK (63552)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan
Wonderful, great to make something useable to save it going to waste.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan
I'll definitely be doing it again!
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@BelleStarr (57617)
• United States
7 Jan
What a great idea, we no longer have grape vines but we did for years and so did my parents and in-laws. No one even my Mom ever made raisins
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan
I don't know why I didn't think of it before really.
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@ARIES1973 (11092)
• Legaspi, Philippines
6 Jan
First, I'm impressed with people who could grow grapes. I don't usually one around and having one in the garden would be such a great thing. I love eating raisins and it would be quite lovely to be able to do it on our own. Keep it up!
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
Thanks. I will definitely do it again next autumn.
@prinzcy (18283)
• Malaysia
6 Jan
Wow, homemade raisins!
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
They were good!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (238613)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Jan
That's a great idea and it makes use of what you have on hand without outlaying extra.
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@Fleura (13897)
• United Kingdom
6 Jan
I didn't want to let the extra goo to waste so this was the best solution. Presumably this is why they were invented in the first place!
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