De uvas a passas,from grapes to raisins.

This summer we had a glut of  grapes in the garden.I had been giving the surplus  away to neighbours until I hit on a brainwave.Sun dry them and stockpile the dried fruit for when it is needed  most, in the winter.
Sun-dried raisins are a delicious natural resource and an addition for many recipes, such as fruit cakes, cookies, salads, scones, granola and even ice cream.Its time to expand your horizons, and at the same time save some money.Raisins don`t come cheap in the months leading up to Christmas.Casting my mind back to 2011 I posted a blog on how to use the dash board of your car in place of an oven or expensive dehydrator.Well this is exactly what I am doing with our overabundance of grapes.Its easy peasy if you just follow these 7 simple steps.

Start with fresh green or purple grapes. Be sure they are fresh, ripe, not mushy or       otherwise blemished. Check them carefully.

Remove the larger stems from the grapes and wash them thoroughly. Do not remove all grapes from the stems.  

Place them on a shallow baking tray lined with baking parchment. You can use a wooden, wicker, bamboo, or plastic tray that is slatted, so air can circulate around the fruit. 
 Semi dried grapes dehydrating in the car

Put the trays on the dashboard of your car, roll all the windows up and park in the sunniest spot you can find. It's best to start in the early morning and finish when the sun sets. take the trays inside at night.
Let them sit out in the sun for 2-3 days, or until dry (taste test). Rotate the fruit and/or trays to ensure even exposure to the sun. 

Remove dried grapes gently from the remaining stems and store in a dry airtight container in a cool place.

and something to look forward to.......
The Portuguese way to bring in the New Year is by eating 12 raisins accompanied by a glass of champagne, one for each month, and making a wish with each one. 


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