Make Your Own Organic Raisins

Make Your Own Organic Raisins l Dehydrate raisins 3 ways for a healthy snack with this tutorial l Homestead Lady (.com)Want a healthier snack? If you’ve got organic grapes, learn how easy it is to make your own organic raisins.

For more DIYs be sure to check out our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead.  With 400 pages of homesteading information, challenges and projects, presented on four different levels of homesteading experience, you’re bound to find something of interest!  Learn more below:

The Do It Yourself Homestead l Homesteading Sustainability DIY Grow Your Own l Homestead Lady

Why Make Your Own Organic Raisins

If you’re concerned about the snack foods you and your kids are eating, learning how to dehydrate your own organic small fruits is a great idea.  Once you’ve mastered raisins and apricots, you’ll be ready to learn how to make kale chips and jerky, too!  In fact, right after you master raisins, you may want to learn to make your own fruit leather.  To do that, click here.

Raisins are easy to incorporate into a wide range of healthy foods.  From rice pudding to trail mix to cookies, raisins are naturally sweet and flavorful.  They’re perfect for little hands that need an after school snack.

Make Your Own Organic Raisins l Homestead Lady (.com)Can I Make Raisins Without a Dehydrator?

Of course!  Dehydrators are special units designed to slowly and effectively remove the moisture from food to make it safe for storage.  Their special temperature regulators allow them to dehydrate foods at lower temperatures to prevent over-drying, scorching and burning.

In an Oven

However, you can achieve very similar results in a conventional oven set on its lowest temperature (usually around 170 degrees).  The only real drawback to using your oven is that you have to check on your dehydrating foods constantly to keep them from over-drying.  Using a timer set to go off every half hour to twenty minutes can be a real help if your making organic raisins in your oven.

Also, use the convection setting, if there is one, to circulate the air better. Be sure to toss your raisins every time you check on them to rotate them.

Be sure to put your raisins on parchment paper line baking sheets with sides (like jelly roll pans) to prevent your raisins from sticking and/or falling off their sheets.

In a Solar Oven

You can also use a solar oven to make raisins.  Because of the sometimes robust nature of grapes, dehydrating raisins in a solar oven can produce mixed results with “done-ness”.  If you’re ever unsure about whether or not your raisins are truly dehydrated, store them in the refrigerator and eat them within a month.

The most important thing to remember when using your solar oven to dry fruit is to vent the lid to allow the wet air to escape.

To learn to use your solar oven to dehydrate fruit, you can generally follow the instructions found here.

The Backyard Bread & Pizza Oven, a step by step guide to building your own outdoor wood-fired pizza

Sourcing Grapes for Organic Raisins

Grow Your Own

The first thing you’re going to need are organic grapes.  The easiest way to ensure the quality of your grapes is to grow them yourself.  Grapes are wonderful to grow in the backyard because they fruit within two to three years.  By comparison, a fruit tree takes about three to five years to come into production.

Grapes are relatively simple to grow, too.  To learn to do that, click here.

Requiring even water, good mulch and something to grow on, grapes are amongst the simplest food producing plants to grow.  They do require pruning for fruit production, which makes them a little harder than something like a currant.

A Good Project for Kids

Not to beat a dead horse, but another great reason to grow your own grapes is that they make a good project for children.  Kids can be taught to grow and even prune a grape vine.  They can also be taught to process the grapes into raisins and even juice (click here to see that).

If you’d like your kids to have a “fruitful” job around the home and land, give them a few grape vines and some YouTube videos.  Get them off their i-device and into the garden.

To help them keep track of all their garden projects (or yours), and to help them learn even more about what can grow in the garden, be sure to check out The Gardening Notebook below:

The Gardening Notebook is the ultimate gardening tool. This printable notebook has over 120 pages of

Local Farms

If you can’t grow them, another great place to find organic grapes are your local farmer’s markets and/or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture groups).  If you can’t find certified organic grapes local to you, talk to your local growers about how they grow their grapes.

Organic certification is an expensive and lengthy process that not all growers can go through.  However, their growing practices may be organic.  They only way to know is to ask them and find out.  Farmers love to talk about their product, so strike up a conversation and learn something!

To Make Organic Raisins from Fresh Grapes

Preparation of Grapes

  1. Amounts really don’t matter here so wash and de-stem as many grapes as you’d like to have organic raisins.
  2. Grapes will dehydrate better is they’ve either cut in half, or popped.  I’ve tried it both ways and neither way was faster, to be honest.  So, I’ll give you both directions.  To pop the skins of your grapes, place them in a pot and cover them with water.  Simmer them until the skins pop.  Remove them from the heat and drain immediately.  OR, you can simply give them a good squish between your fingers.  This works well if the grapes are firm and newly harvested.
  3. OR, you can simply cut each grape in half.  This took a little bit longer but I liked the results better.  I dehydrate my organic raisins on a “living foods”, or raw, setting.  Consequently, I don’t like the idea of simmering my grapes to make raisins.  However, both methods work just fine so do whatever you like best.

How to make homemade organic raisins l Pop the skins to make the grapes easier to dehydrate l Homestead Lady (.com)

Dehydrating Organic Raisins

  1. Move each grape into place on the racks of your dehydrator or a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.  This is something you need to be detail oriented about.  The grapes should NOT be on top each other.  I know it’s a pain to do double check if you’re doing a big batch.  However, you’ll be so sad if you’ve finished your batch of organic raisins only to have them spoil a month later because there’s one, stinkin’ raisin that didn’t dry all the way because it was clinging to another one.
  2. Put your racks in your dehydrator and set to at least 135 degrees for about 24 hours.  Check them every now and then to see how they’re doing.
  3. If you’re dehydrating in an oven, set it as low as it will go (vent it with a spoon if it wont go to at least 170 degrees).  Use the convection setting, if you have one.  Stir often.  This could take as few as six hours or as many as twelve.
  4. If you’re using your solar oven, vent the lid and check your raisins often.  Plan for this process to take anywhere from two to twelve hours.  Solar ovens are dependent on the weather, so…

Make Homemade Organic Raisins l Lay them out to dehydrate l Homestead Lady (.com)

Storing Organic Raisins

General rules of storing home dehydrated fruits are one month at room temperature and about a year in the freezer.  Be sure to keep your newly-made organic raisins in an airtight container.  If you’re storing the raisins at room temperature, be sure to do it in a cool, dark place.

I seriously doubt your homemade, organic raisins will last even a month, but maybe you have more restraint than we do.

Should you happen to have any grapes leftover, you can happily use them to make the Grape Cake recipe found in Cake Stand – the best cake cookbook ever!  Yes, Grape Cake – you read that correctly.  You won’t be sorry.

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DisclaimerInformation offered on the Homestead Lady website is for educational purposes only. Read my full disclaimer HERE.

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2 thoughts on “Make Your Own Organic Raisins

    1. Yes, if you don’t like to eat grape seeds. The seed pocket is pretty easy to pop out as you’re preparing the grapes for dehydrating, if you happen to grow a seeded variety. We had seeded Concords that made wonderful raisins and I would pop out the seeds as I went. You miss some, but that’s life. Concord raisins taste just like grape candy, only better. I finally decided to grow a seedless variety. You know, of all the things I miss about our last move, those grape vines are high up on the list.

      If you’re purchasing, feel free to buy seedless and save yourself some time.

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