You might not know it, but raisins are an extremely versatile food. You can eat them on their own, in a fruit and nut mix, or even in a curry. They’re pretty delicious, and have some great nutritional values as well, which is why they are found in many health foods.
In this article, we will show you how to make raisins in a dehydrator. Don’t worry; the process is much more straightforward than you think – no fancy science or magic going on behind the scenes here.
Well, there’s a little bit of fancy science. Read on for more about how to make raisins in a dehydrator.
How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?
A food dehydrator is a tool that extracts the moisture contained within the food to preserve it. Food dehydrators use airflow and a heat source to reduce the water content of various foods, which is usually relatively high, around 80% to 95% for several fruits and vegetables. For meats, it is between 50% and 75%.
Removing the moisture from food restricts bacteria from growing on the food and spoiling it. Additionally, removing moisture from food reduces its weight, so food dehydrators are used to preserve foods and extend their shelf lives. The removal of water also causes flavors to become more concentrated, leading many culinary techniques to involve dehydrators.
Most foods will be dehydrated at temperatures of about 130°F or around 54°C. However, meat has to be dehydrated at a higher temperature, generally about 155°F or 68°C. The key to successful dehydration of any food is by applying constant temperature and decent airflow.
If the temperature is too high, the food can become hardened – hard on the outside, moist on the inside. This makes it vulnerable to spoiling, which pretty much defeats the whole purpose of dehydrating the food in the first place.
Using a Dehydrator to Make Raisins
Now that you know the basics of how a food dehydrator works, it’s time to put yours to the test. Here are the steps to take when dehydrating grapes to make raisins:
Start by preparing your grapes. Put the grapes into a colander, and rinse them with cool water. Check them and remove any spoiled fruit, as well as all stems.
Fill a 4-quart pot with water, and boil. Put your grapes into the water for half a minute, then remove them. This will crack the skin of the grapes, which makes it easier for them to dry out.
Fill a large bowl with two quarts of cool water and add two teaspoons of citric acid. Stir well.
Place your boiled grapes into the bowl with the cool water, and stir them for 10 minutes. The citric acid solution will improve your raisins’ quality.
Drain the grapes and put them onto the trays of your food dehydrator. Make sure that the grapes are in one singular layer.
Stack your dehydrator trays. The temperature should be at about 120°F to 140°F. Once you’ve set the temperature, turn the machine on. Also, be sure to consult your food dehydrator’s manual for the proper temperatures.
Allow the grapes to dehydrate for a minimum of 24 hours. Check them after 24 hours to see whether they have turned into raisins or not. If they still look like they have moisture inside of them, let them continue dehydrating.
Check on them every hour or two until they have entirely shriveled up, and there is no water at the raisin’s core whatsoever.
Take the raisins out of the dehydrator and let them sit in the trays for about one to two hours. Wait until they have cooled down completely.
Move the raisins over to a plastic container and seal it. Make sure you use a container that is airtight when closed to keep your raisins fresh and delicious. Your raisins are now ready to eat!
The Key to the Perfect Dehydration
The most essential thing to do when dehydrating any food is to remove the moisture as quickly as possible, at a temperature that will not affect the texture, flavor, and color of the food in any profound way. If the temperature is not high enough at the start of the dehydration process, bacteria might survive and grow before the food has dried out correctly.
If the temperature is too high, and the humidity is too low, the food might become hard on the surface, making it more difficult for moisture to be released. You’ll probably have to take a trial and error approach when you first start dehydrating foods.
There you have it! You are now fully equipped with all the knowledge you need to easily make delicious raisins, thanks to a little help from our handy food dehydrator. Happy dehydrating!