Usually, at this time of year, I start to see packages of concord grapes lining shelves at my grocery store. Well, last week, there was a newcomer among those thick-skinned, purple grapes. I spotted a few packages of Coronation grapes. At a quick glance, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two varieties. But, they definitely taste different. The flavour of Concord is often described as “foxy”, that musty flavour that isn’t always pleasant. Coronation grapes lack that foxiness, which makes them a bit more flavourful and certainly sweeter. So, I couldn’t resist picking some up.
As soon as I’d gotten them home, I decided that I was going to try turning them into raisins. I’ve had Coronation raisins before, and they have such a unique, layered flavour that I just fell in love with them. The only question was how to go about drying the grapes. I don’t have a dehydrator nor is the weather right now particularly generous in giving us consistent dry heat. The only option left was my oven. So, here’s what to do: Wash the grapes in a 10 water to 3 cup vinegar solution. This is a great way of removing any residues sprayed on the grapes to protect them during their journey from farm to store. Leave them in the vinegar solution for 5 or 10 minutes. Next rinse them well, otherwise they’ll taste like vinegar. Dry them then place them onto a perforated pizza pan or even a clean, metal screen. You just want something that will allow the warm air to circulate all around them. Set the oven to 170°F, or whatever the lowest possible temperature is. Then, leave them there for 24 hours or less, until the raisins have reached whatever point of dryness you like.
I’m so glad I thought of drying these grapes. They’re turning out to be a perfect snack to get us through our back-to-school, back-to-work routines.