As a child, I used to always get confused between the difference of raisins and sultanas. They are essentially made form the same fruit (white grapes) but it is the process that changes the end result.
There is always conjecture around what makes the difference between a raisin and a sultana. The answer really depends on where you come from. I was taught that sultanas are made from seedless grapes and raisins made from non-seedless varieties and take longer to dry out. I’m not going to argue the naming convention differences in this post but I am going to show you how to create these tasty morsels at home, with little more than what you find in your own kitchen.
From the middle of Summer, grapes are abundant and cheep as they are in peak season. This is the best time to buy them. They are sweet and delicious. But we always tend to have a few bunches too many. When this happens, we dry them out. You can use a dehydrator, but with Sydney Summer weather being what it is, we sun dry ours. The method is quite simple…
Tools needed: Grapes (obviously), sharp knife, plate or platter, netted food cover, insect surface spray (optional).
1) Clean your grapes and let them dry. We fill a small tub or sink then add a splash of vinegar to the water before submerging the grapes for 10 mins. Vinegar acts as a fungicide, killing off those nasty moulds.
2) Pick your grapes off the vine
3) Cut each grape in half. If you are using a seeded variety, you can remove the seeds at this point too.
4) Arrange the grapes fleshy side up on a plate or platter. Ensure that they are closely packed but not stacked on each other. The grapes will shrink when drying to about a third of their original size.
5) Find a sunny position and if you have ants nearby, spray a small area with surface spray. Place the plate/platter on the sprayed surface then put the netted food cover over the plate/platter. The net is to ensure that no insects can access the fruit while drying and the surface spray stops crawling insects from accessing under the netting. Keep an eye on the plate/platter throughout the day and move it if it gets shaded.
On a 35 degree day, it should take about one to one and a half days to dry out the grapes. Longer if it is colder.
You can also use a dehydrator, but why use electricity when the sun can do the work for you!
Enjoy your sultanas!