How are raisins made? (Hint: Not like this)

November 21, 2009 | By | Comments (3)

We decided to let our grapes turn into raisins for the fall feast. Actually, Margo decided. I was against the idea. What’s the point of having fresh, delicious grapes shrivel into raisins?

Margo told me we’d let the grapes raisinate on the vine. Raisinate. Good word, right? I didn’t bother researching. I just left the grapes alone.

This is what we got:


Turns out raisinate isn’t really a word. Well, Wiktionary includes it, and the references are indeed to letting grapes shrivel. One catch: it’s done OFF the vine.

There goes our entire season’s crop. Oops.

Raisins are usually harvested at their peak (late summer) and then laid out to dry for anywhere from two days to three weeks, depending on the conditions and your taste preference. Drying can be done outside or in a dehydrator, depending on the climate. The trick is that raisins need hot, dry weather to suck out all that juicy moisture (we’re talking around 85-100 degrees). They’re subject to rot and mold if the conditions aren’t right (like in our coastal-influenced Menlo Park). Be sure to check them consistently.

There is a method for vine-ripened grapes, called DOV (dried-on-vine). This UC study presents DOV as a labor saving solution. Ripe grapes are left on the vine and collected by mechanized harvesting machines. While they technically dry on the vine, it’s no longer attached to a living plant. The point is to increase mechanization and eliminate the need for workers to harvest bunch by bunch. Hm — not quite the vine-ripened garden imagery we had in mind.


  1. liz

    we had left town during summer, and when we returned, we found raisins on our vine. I cooked them up and strained out the juice. I made then turned it into “ice wine” jelly and syrup.

    January 10, 2010 at 3:05 am
  2. tina k – friend of nugget

    First no eggs, then moldy mushrooms, now ruined raisins! I know you’ll have some good news for us soon… Keep up the good work.

    November 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm
  3. Sukaja

    Grapes is very important for every body, In my country in hot season, grapes is grow up very well, so it is easy to get it , most of people eat very well

    November 23, 2009 at 7:36 am

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