Now, this is not a cheeky post, so don´t go thinking I´m talking about anything remotely naughty. We´re talking dried grapes, White Muscat to be precise.
So, what is the difference between a Raisin, a Sultana and a Currant? This question came up after a recent post for Banana Bread. I had absolutely no idea so off I went to check. It seems Raisins are dried, seeded white grapes, usually Muscat. However, the definition I found says that they are oven dried, but more of that later. Sultanas are dried seedless yellow grapes and Currants are dried, tiny, black seedless grapes.
Having mentioned that raisins are oven dried, I´m going to contradict myself. Malaga is famous for its raisins which are sun dried. In fact, close to where I live you can walk around some of the fields and still see the old style drying beds for the Uvas Pasas de Malaga – which is what this famous local product is called here.
They are used to make the sweet Malaga wine, in delicious rum and raisin ice cream, in sauces made with the Malaga wine for savoury pork dishes, and are particularly sought after over Christmas when they are eaten with almonds, walnuts, cheese and typical sweet local pastries.
So, when you´ve got a couple of vines dripping with more grapes than you can ever eat, what do you do? Big Man decided that if I could sun dry tomatoes, then he could do the same with the grapes.
No, no…he didn´t need any help setting up the drying process – thank you very much. And anyway, the table I use in the garden for my tomatoes was being used for its preordained purpose.
No problem, a spare bathroom ceiling tile from some recent DIY was propped on top of my paella burner, and together with a couple of blocks of wood, an olive net (to protect them from the flies) and some washing pegs (to stop the net blowing away) a makeshift drying table was fashioned. Who needs sophisticated drying nets when you´ve got top grade equipment like that?!
And guess what? It worked! Six days of hot sunshine later and we have our first batch of Uvas Pasas. Not sure we´ll be able to hang onto them until Christmas, so as long as the sun shines, we´re planning on making a few more batches.
Big Man is justifiably proud of his raisins, but “shhh” – don´t tell anyone or they´ll all be wanting some.
PS. For another wacky way of drying fruit, check out this amazing post over at And Then Make Soup – it goes to show that where there´s a will there is always a way.
And a final PS.which is a big Thank You to Cecilia over at The Kitchens Garden and to Tandy at Lavender and Lime for passing on the Seven Links Challenge to me. To see how I responded and to check out some of my previous posts, take a look at a post I did a few days ago…I was lucky enough to also be nominated earlier by Karen from Back Road Journal.