Is there anything as frustrating as watching your fruit wilt, rot or shrivel up before there is enough time to eat it all? You might think that working in a private home, for a large family, would make this less of a problem, but surprisingly, it does not.
Fresh fruit preferences in the home where I work are akin to fashion designers in Heidi Klum’s world, one day something is in….and the next it’s out. Unfortunately, I’m always the last one informed and just when I think I know who likes which fruit, and how much of each I need to buy to keep everyone happy, the rules change.
Catering to so many different preferences is a challenge and I’m forced to get creative when the apples start to resemble shrunken heads and the bananas turn to compost before my eyes.
A few days ago, when presented with a colander full of puckered grapes, I had a thought. When tomatoes have seen better days I make oven dried tomatoes, so why not do the same thing with the grapes?
After plucking the grapes from their stems, I threw them onto a couple of sheet trays (I had red and muscat grapes and decided to keep them separate) and placed them in the oven at 200 degrees. Five hours later I was rewarded with the plumpest, juiciest raisins I’ve ever seen. They were huge and delicious and packed with flavor. The muscat grapes, in particular, were fantastic. They were sweet, musty and perfumey, just like a glass of muscat dessert wine, and really got me thinking about the many ways in which I might use them. Scones, muffins, cookies? Suddenly I saw a world of possibility and found myself absently humming the tune ‘Everything Old Is New Again’.