How To Freeze Dry Grapes

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Freeze Dried Fruits

Grapes are now in season! They’re at their peak flavor, ultra-sweet, and best of all – they’re on sale! You’ll see them in your local grocery or farmers market and sold at an almost-steal price.

Now is the best time to start storing grapes for your food supply. Freeze-dried grapes are fun to eat even without rehydration. The best part is they don’t come out looking like raisins. They still look so much like the original fruit. The best part? Freeze-dried grapes don’t have that sticky, chewy consistency many aren’t fans of.

So if you want to have grapes all year round – and not raisins – then it’s time to start freeze drying!

How To Prepare Grapes For Freeze Drying

Although grapes are pretty small fruits, they do need a bit of prep work for better results.

Just like blueberries, the challenge that you’re going to have here is the skin. It’s a hydrophobic barrier, meaning it won’t let water in or out of the fruit. This makes it hard for your freeze dryer to remove moisture and preserve the grapes.

To make your freeze dryer’s life easier, you must cut the grapes in half. Get two lids, about as wide as your open hand. They should have a lip that’s high enough to hold the grapes in place but not too high that you won’t be able to slice through.

Place the lid on a flat, even surface with the lip facing upwards. Layer the grapes on the lid in whatever way you desire. Some want them upright, while others want them lying flat. It’s totally fine whatever way you go. Just make sure that they don’t move around too much, so they’re stable while you slice them.

Cover the top with the other lid, with the lip facing down. Press your hand on the lid with just enough pressure to hold the grapes in place. Then, with your knife, slowly and carefully slice across the grapes between the lids. Think of how you’re doing salmon or chicken fillets. Keep going until you slice all the grapes between the two lids.

Yeah, we didn’t do it that way in the video. We ran out of lids to use ha ha.

Once you’re done with the grapes, lay them on the tray for freeze drying.

How To Freeze Dry Grapes

Once you get your grapes ready, it’s all smooth sailing from here.

  • Line up your trays with parchment paper.
  • Place the grapes skin side down on the tray on an even layer. This increases the efficiency of the freeze dryer.
  • Set the timer to 24-36 hours.
  • Load the food in the freeze dryer when it’s ready and close the drain valve.
  • Close and lock the chamber, then start the freeze-drying process.

How Do I Know That They’re Done?

They should be dry, crumbly, and crunchy, just like in the video. If any grapes are moist or cold, put them back in the freeze dryer and add extra drying time.

How Long Should I Run The Freeze Drying Process?

That would depend on several factors. These can be:

  • Temperature of the room where you put your freeze dryer – the hotter the room, the longer the process.
  • Age of your freeze dryer – new ones freeze dry food faster
  • Make and model of the freeze dryer – some models freeze dry food faster compared to others
  • Size of your freeze dryer – bigger ones have more machine power to freeze dry.
  • How much food you’re freeze drying – it will take longer to freeze dry bigger quantities of food compared to small ones.

If you’re unsure, check first the recommendation of your freeze dryer’s manufacturer. Freeze dryers usually, like ours, have a preset that makes life easier. Try the presets first, then see if they’re enough. If not, you can quickly go to the custom settings and play around with the freezing and drying times.

Should I Pre-Freeze The Grapes?

That would be totally up to you. In this video, we didn’t freeze dry the grapes. But for some, they prefer to pre-freeze the fruit before processing. We find that this extra step shortens the freeze-drying time.

How To Pre-Freeze

Once you sliced the fruits, lay them on the tray, skin side down. Put the trays inside the freezer, preferably an empty one. If you have food inside the freezer, keep the tray away from food that has a strong smell or odor. Since the grapes are already pre-cut, they’ll likely absorb whatever scent or flavor that’s going around your freezer.

Cover the top of the grapes with parchment paper if you plan to stack the trays for freezing. This will keep the fruits from sticking to the tray on top.

Now comes the hard part. Once you close the door of the freezer, keep it undisturbed for 6-12 hours or until the grapes are frozen. Some, for added measure, keep the grapes in for 24 hours before taking them out. Opening and closing the freezer door will cause a sudden drop in temperature. This leads to the formation of larger ice crystals that lowers the quality of the freeze-dried product.

How Do They Taste Like

One thing we can tell you, especially our kids, is that they no way taste like raisins. They have this fresh fruity taste that closely resembles the flavor of fresh grapes.

freeze dried grapes on a tray

Can I Freeze Dry Grapes Without A Freeze Dryer?

Sure you can! There are two ways to freeze dry grapes without a freeze dryer.

The Freezer Method

  1. Prepare your grapes the same way.
  2. Place the fruits in freezer-safe or freezer-proof bags or a tray.
  3. Let the globes of sweetness sit in the freezer for 2-3 weeks until completely dry.

The Dry Ice Method

This is the most popular and convenient way of freeze-drying without a freeze-dryer. Faster, too, compared to the freezer method.

  1. Prepare your fruit as you would with a freeze dryer.
  2. Place the grapes inside a zip lock bag skin side down, and lay them on the bottom of a chest cooler.
  3. Cover the bags with dry ice. As a general rule, you’d want to use 1lb of dry ice for 1lb of food.
  4. Place the lid on top but don’t close or seal tightly. Give some room for air to escape. Otherwise, your chest cooler’s going to explode.
  5. Keep the grapes in the chest cooler for 24 hours. Then, add more dry ice and extend the freeze drying time if needed.

How Do I Store Freeze Dried Grapes?

The way you store the fruit will determine how long the grapes will last. Store them in Mylar bags to keep them as good as the day you freeze-dried them. These bags are popular for food storage because they keep away moisture and oxygen. Throw in an oxygen absorber or two for better results.

Once you seal the bags, store them in a cool dark place, away from humidity and moisture. Storage temperature should also be no higher than 72°F (22°C).

But when we want easy, on-demand access to our freeze-dried fruits? We put them in air-tight containers or mason jars. There are vacuum sealers for mason jars, so they can also help keep your freeze-dried fruit longer.

Have you tried freeze-drying grapes? How was it? Share your experience or questions about freeze-drying grapes in the comment section!

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