Why It Works
- A low oven temperature dries the grapes more than it cooks them, preserving some of their fresh flavor.
- The juices on the baking sheet dry into a syrup, which caramelizes on the skins of the grapes, adding extra flavor.
- Using different grapes yields a variety of colors and flavors.
It may seem ridiculous to dry your own grapes in the oven, but doing so gives you much more control over the result and opens up a range of flavor and texture possibilities. The homemade kind can come out plumper and juicier, with a flavor that's truer to that of a fresh grape, only more intense. Toss them into baked goods like Bran Muffins, serve them on a cheese board at a party, or make them a regular addition to salads.
- 3 large bunches seedless grapes, preferably mixed colors, stemmed
- Vegetable or canola oil, for greasing
Preheat oven to 225°F (110°C). Very lightly grease 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil, then scatter grapes all over. Bake, checking periodically for doneness, until grapes are nicely shriveled and semi-dried but still slightly plump, about 4 hours (see note). (The exact time will depend on your grapes, your oven, and your preferred degree of dryness.) Let cool. Use a thin metal spatula to free any grapes that are stuck to the baking sheet.
The dried grapes can be refrigerated in a sealed container for about 3 weeks. (How long they keep will also depend on their degree of dryness; drier grapes will keep longer.)
Rimmed baking sheets
The precise cooking time can vary quite a bit depending on the size of your grapes (larger ones will take longer to dry than smaller ones) and how your oven functions (some ovens are prone to big temperature swings, which can speed up and/or slow down total drying time). Make sure to check in on the progress of your grapes periodically to avoid any mishaps.