Grapes

Todd Coleman

Table grapes are nature's candy: firm little ovals, they burst with a satisfying crunch as you bite into them, quickly melting away to a soft, juicy pulp. In the summer, we love to throw a bag of cold grapes into our picnic basket or beach bag to eat by the handful throughout the hot day. Try baking grapes in tarts or, on the savory side, roasting them along with meats. Sliced, grapes work well in cold, creamy chicken salad or potato salad or as an addition to a spicy salsa. Common seedless table grapes come in red (more of a pale maroon), green (more of a pale greenish yellow), and black (more of a dark purple). Vast in number, the varieties of wine grapes are a separate beast, but there are a few other varieties of table grapes worth noting. Concord grapes, native to historic Concord, Massachusetts, are rounder than the common table grape, with a thick, deep blue skin coated in a pale dusty bloom. Concord grapes are slightly tart with a hint of musk, making them perfect for jam, jelly, and juice making. Champagne grapes, with their elegant tiny seeds and sweetly crisp flavor, are wonderful served with cheese. The sweeter flavor of muscat, or moscato, grapes, in both green and red, makes them ideal for granitas and sorbets. With the exception of Concord, most of the country's grapes are grown in California, where the growing season lasts from July till December.

Featured Grape Recipes

Tips

  • When shopping, look for plump and vibrantly colored grapes that are firmly attached to their stems.
  • Store unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge for up to ten days.
  • Wash well before eating.

Where to Buy

Grapes are available in your local grocery store, and at your farmers' market if you live in an area where they are grown. To locate more unusual varieties, see www.melissas.com.