DIY Raisins from Homegrown Grapes

You’re harvested your grapes, now what? In this video, I explain how to make DIY raisins from home grown, hand harvested grapes. Please enjoy, and leave a comment below if you have questions about making your own raisins!

DIY Raisins

Video Transcript

[Music] all right so I’m here processing grapes to be dried for raisins these are homegrown grapes from our backyard vines and here’s a few nobody um tips and tricks that I’ve come across working with these grapes first of all all these little stems that want to be attached and will take forever to remove my approach with that is to get as many off as I can in this pass but I know I will be back to prot you know work with these and kind of move them around they’re going in a dehydrator so I’ll want to switch the trays around and you know turn the grapes make sure that they get even drying conditions and every time I’m in here working with them I will take even more stems off my concern with stopping and doing it all at once right the second is that minute by minute these grapes are getting drier and drier and I don’t want to leave them on the vine I’m gonna get them picked and sorted and all that as fast as possible and get them into the dehydrator so that’s a decision that I made second of all I thought about leaving them on the cluster in the dehydrator as a even faster way to process all the grapes the problem I came across with that is that when they’re in a cluster it’s very difficult to see the bad ones so you are or I feel you’re better off spreading them out picking them off and then you can go through and you can get rid of the ones that are too small or have splits in them or or dirty or whatever don’t meet quality standards so I’m gonna spread out and you can see them it’s much better also a tool that has come in handy is this brush not only to kind of clean the trash out from underneath the tray as it falls through while you’re sorting but as you go through and you want to turn the grapes around it’s a gentle way to sort of flip them around and look for bad ones without being too rough on the grapes and this is nice because at this stage they’re pretty ripe a lot of them and too much pressure you can burst the skin on them and then they’re gonna you know be prone to rotting and not not make a good reason so you know you do it you can do it with gentle pressure you get them off the stem and then you know you go through and you pick out the other ones but this is a nice gentle way to just sort of move things around and get a better view using a brush like this also you can take this in and you can poke it through the trays in the dehydrator or to like get these little ones that get stuck like this one for example here it’s a tiny one I may not want to keep that in as a super small raising when it’s done it’ll be like a little rock so I’m gonna poke it through and then I can get it from this side and then get rid of it so I’m liking this this brush a lot oh another trick by the way is make sure you’re comfortable cuz you’re gonna be going through a lot of grapes and if yours I started standing and now I’m sitting at a table that’s comfortable because you’re gonna be picking through a lot of things so I ergonomics are good make sure you’re in a position that’s comfortable so you’re not you’re not trying to rush you know you do a pretty good job on the first pass don’t crowd the trays make sure there’s plenty of open spaces for circulation so that the warm air can you know come up and around and through also when I first started doing this I did it with a straight trip excuse me with the trays stacked right on top of the dehydrator but pretty quick I didn’t like that idea because all the trash started to fall through the top tray onto all the bottom trays and ended up having to clean the trays twice and it didn’t seem like I was actually saving any effort by doing that plus it made it got to a height where I had to stand to deal with it which was uncomfortable after a few minutes and so I abandoned that that technique pretty quick and now I’m just doing it tray by tray then I can clean the trash falls into the pad below on the table and then I can sit down and be comfortable and work with them and still make decent progress so these are these are grapes grown on my backyard vine which is three years old there are Thompson seedless grapes they’re pretty small they’re not like the grapes that you see in the store the reason is is that I don’t do anything as of yet to try to artificially get them to be larger I was wondering myself why are my grapes as small and so I started looking into it and I found that commercial growers in addition to a technique they called girdling where you cut a trench around the phloem of the plant any way you cut it cut the nutrients off from the plant and it makes the nutrients stay up in the fruit instead of being able to acts like flow down to the roots that’s a technique but also they dust them with hormones which I’m you know I’m not I’m not gonna do and that’s you know plant hormones but still you know I will try it girdling cuz my grape is so robust that I yeah it’ll stress the plant a little bit making to girdle it but it’s so healthy and soda bust that I just think it’s gonna grow it like keep on growing it won’t even make it blink so I don’t really feel I’m gonna do damage to the mother plant yeah so I’m gonna try and future harvests to get my grapes as big as possible because it’s better if you if you’re gonna do the work it’s better to you know have more quality and maybe less quantity I have found when it comes to processing fruit then it is to have a bunch but help them be kind of little and a pain in there you know they’re just they’re not the quality you’re looking for and not you know philosophy also applies to like thinning fruits on your trees which is hard for me to do I don’t like to remove fruit you know it’s it’s it’s tough because you feel like you might be wasting or whatever but you know you do it because it’s better better in the long run at the time of Marvis to have more quality than quantity and your future you will thank you for preparing the way when it’s harvest time and preparation time to make the job as efficient as possible finally another technique to two large grapes is thinning so if you see here this is a really long natural like mine right you see it now oftentimes if you look at the structure of a vine at the store they’ll take it and they’ll pinch off the tip so it’s like a fatter cluster but I don’t you want to do that with sheers you these vines are so tough you never want to twist or yank or pull or whatever we’ll go over that in a different video on how to hand harvest your grapes but but anyway they’ll go through and they’ll trim off this bottom piece and they’ll trim out pieces so that although there are less fruit there is more nutrients available to the fruit that remains and that helps them to grow bigger and juicier and and all those things so I missed my window this year all this preparation happens in the spring when the vines are small you thin the fruit when they’re flowering you know you can trim the vines when they’re when they’re trimmed the clusters when they’re very small and you know I’m kind of getting to it behind the curve now but I pay I’m paying the price so you know my grapes are small they’re they have good flavor and it was definitely time to harvest and you can tell that because the animals start to eat them like the animals are on high alert for for a grape time and they’ll start eating them as soon as the first ones start to get ripe so they’ll tip you off also they get plump they get kind of translucent they get sweet so you’ll have to go in there and taste them once you pick them they don’t get any sweeter so you’ve you got to keep tasting them to sort of you know pull the plug when you think their flavor is as sweet as you want without letting it go too far also the longer you leave them on the vine you know the more risk there is to splitting and damage and blah blah so anyway um so that’s what I’m gonna try next year is how to grow large grapes didn’t get them this year but I I’m going to make use of the grapes I did get we’re gonna learn some things about how to make reasons and we’ll see put these in the dehydrator and see how they do we have some leftovers in the you know the split ones and such that I have kind of a rejects see this is oh never mind it’s gonna say when it looked like that it’s kind of how a trimmed cluster will look will fatten and juicy but not you won’t have that big long tail hanging down like this one has the big long tail hanging down see it there’s like a trim cluster you can tell it’d be more more chunky do the like that look there like that you see the difference okay so anyway so the ones that are left my dehydrator is full right now a lot of these are acceptable but I’m not gonna get greedy I’m gonna run my batch in the dehydrator I think I will make my chickens in my tortoise extremely happy they love these grapes I’m gonna eat some I’m gonna share some with my family and I’m gonna share some with my animals fresh I may leave some for the birds although I did leave some out on the vine just for the birds I always do that as like a little offering the birds in my yard helped me so much with pest control and there’s such a delight for me to watch and I enjoy their company that whatever I grow I will leave a little bit for them so that they and their babies I have so many wild bird babies in our yard you know have have enough to eat it’s like a little you know thank you so yeah that’s our grape harvest that’s us how to make raisins thoughts behind it few little creative ideas and tips and tricks and thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time

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