Friday, September 4, 2015
I am trying a new method in drying raisins this week. Since we've had coastal fog in the mornings almost every day, it hasn't been the best weather to successfully dry grapes into raisins. And so my solution is this old wheelbarrow we keep in the pasture, with bird netting clipped to the top, which I can take in and out of our very warm and dry garage into the sunshine each day. Garage at night, sunshine all day long. It sounds like a winning combination to me, but we shall see.
When I lived in the San Joaquin Valley, the grape-drying was done on the ground, on paper trays. I'm sure it works well, but it's ecologically awful. After the grapes are dried and picked up, they burn the paper trays and it truly fouls the air for miles around. I do envy them the 24-hour dry weather that allows them to dry their grapes outdoors though. But not enough to move back there. While the morning fog may be bad for drying raisins, it makes wine grapes taste better, and human beings extremely happy. To have cool mornings to offset the hot afternoons is a blessing I'd never give back, even for raisins.
But hopefully this method will work. Red Flame Grapes, allowed to turn into raisins, are simply the best raisins EVER. So it is totally worth wheeling them around the property a little to get them the optimal conditions to "raisin up." I'm already tasting them in some December oatmeal raisin cookies and smiling at the thought.