Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook with alternative, healthy whole food ingredients, with a focus on gut health. Barb has overcome her own gut health issues through healthy eating. Share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

dehydrated muscatel grape clusters

Delicious and decorative.

Muscatel grapes are well known for their distinctive, sweet and bold flavour, so we were very excited to sample them dried. We recently dehydrated two varieties of grapes to make homemade raisins and absolutely loved the results.

One of my favourite items on a cheeseboard are dried bunches of muscatel grapes. Dried grapes which are still attached to the stem or vine are fabulous decoration, and always elevate a platter to the next level! We just had to give it a try. 

Many factors make dehydrating bunches of muscatel grapes difficult: they are large, there`s a lot of moisture, the skin is tough, and they are full of seeds. They are also super sweet. All of these things make the evaporation of their water content difficult. 

dehydrating muscatel grapes

The easiest way to dehydrate them would have been to remove the vine, slice them in half and remove the seeds with a spoon - but as we wanted to retain the integrity of the bunch, we had to get creative. Despite just having made raisins, we had to approach dehydrating clusters newly and break some dehydrating, best-practise rules in the process. Luckily the Breeze food dehydrator is a versatile unit.

Bunches of grapes are larger than the Breeze trays. To accommodate extra height and increase air flow we removed every second wire rack.

The skin on the grape needs to be broken to allow the moisture to escape for efficient drying. After a brief blanch to clean them, we scored each and every grape with a sharp knife. The process is a little tedious, but it probably takes around the same time as cutting grapes in half.

Drying grapes without breaking the skin, can lead to case hardening where the outside dries into a shell, and doesn't allow the moisture from the inside to escape. This can lead to moulding problems in storage and would be very disappointing.

You can remove the seeds as well. It’s additional work to scoop them out but it sure is worth the work. We left the seeds in several bunches to sample the results. Grape seeds give a slight crunch but aren’t so bothersome. In fact, grape seeds are actually loaded with nutritional value so there is no harm eating them.

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dehydrating muscatel grapes

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