Anyone know how to make homemade raisins? Drying fruit in general? Thanks !
I've never made raisins but have made other dried fruit. Basically it's a combination of low temperature over a long period of time. Set the oven at 200; place the fruit you are drying on parchment or silpat lined trays and spread the fruit on the trays so they aren't crowded. Place in the oven and let them bake for several hours (depending on the fruit size, could be from 4-8 hours. Check periodically. When they are shriveled and moisture gone, they are finished. Let cool and then store in air tight containers.
I make raisins all of the time, from grapes that might be a little soft or go uneaten. Follow the advice above. I keep them in the refrigerator, however. Regular red or green grapes make the most delicious plump raisins!
One last step is "conditioning" the dried fruit. The easiest way to do this is to take the cooled, dried, fruit and put in a glass canning jar. Screw lid on tight and shake. Repeat process two times daily for one week: done. What this does is equalizes the residual moisture among all the dried food. This step is important and will allow you to keep your finished product on your cupboard shelf (and the jar makes a nice storage unit) indefinitely. If you don't follow this step, due to variations in fruit size and fluctuating oven temps, some of your fruit will be unpleasantly dry and others will be not quite dry enough. The former will be less than optimally tasty; the latter will spoil first.