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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Delicious Ways To Use Grapes

Grilled fish with grape relish. Photo courtesy
California Table Grape Commission.

 

Grapes are an easily portable snack and energy food, high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Composed 80% of water, they’re also a help with hydration.

Yet beyond snacking, versatile, popular grapes demand to be incorporated into recipes.

What kind of grapes? Many different subspecies are grown: Popular varieties include Thompson seedless. an early, green grape; red seedless. an early, red grape; Tokay and Cardinal, early, bright-red, seeded grapes; and Emperor, late, deep-red, seeded grapes.

But the grocery store typically doesn’t provide the details. It boils down to black, green and red grapes. You can do a taste test among them; we enjoy mixing up the colors in our recipes.

Seeded versus seedless grapes? Again, do a taste test. Seedless grapes are certainly more convenient, but you may prefer the flavor of the seeded varieties.

 

BUYING & STORING GRAPES

  • BUYING. According to the Consumer Information Center, you should look for well-colored, plump grapes firmly attached to the stem. Green grapes are sweetest when the color has a yellowish cast or straw color, with a tinge of amber. Red varieties are better when good red predominates on all or most of the berries. Bunches are more likely to hold together if the stems are predominantly green and pliable. Avoid doft or wrinkled grapes, or bunches with stems that are brown and brittle; these are the effects of freezing or drying. Also avoid grapes with bleached areas around the stem ends and leaking berries.
  • STORING. Grapes can keep in a bag or covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you have more than you can use, freeze the grapes, unwashed. Rinse them under lukewarm water prior to using; the water will help to defrost them.
  • SERVING. Use a small scissors to remove small clusters of grapes, instead of pulling off individual grapes and leaving unattractive stem tips. In decades past, refined households had a specialty grape shears for this purpose (we have our grandmother’s pair, silver and gold with a grape cluster motif). Here are contemporary small grape scissors that do the trick.
  •  

    10 EASY WAYS TO ADD GRAPES TO YOUR RECIPES

    Make grape jelly can be a challenge, but here are 10 easy ways to enjoy grapes.

    1. Freeze the grapes as snacks. Just pull them off the stems and place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer to freeze; then store them in a plastic bag. You get a grape sorbet effect without added sugar.

    2. Freeze the grapes as snacks. Make grape sorbet.

    3. Use frozen grapes as ice cubes. Add them to soft drinks or sweet cocktails.

    4. Make grape Margaritas. This frozen grape Margarita recipe is delish.

     

    Serve with cocktails: Blue Cheese & Walnut Dusted Grapes. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market. Get the recipe.

     

    5. Make grape hors d’oeuvre. Skewer them with cubes of cheese or mozzarella balls, wrap them in prosciutto, or make this divine recipe (photo above) for Blue Cheese & Walnut Dusted Grapes appetizer pops.

    6. Add grapes to a salad. Take a look at this recipe for Curried Chicken Salad With Grapes, Pecans & Pomegranate Vinaigrette or this recipe. Or add them to a radicchio salad.

    7. Make a Waldorf Salad. This retro dish, created for ladies who lunched at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, consists of chopped apples, grapes and walnuts dressed with mayonnaise, on a bed of lettuce.

    8. Add grapes to fish and seafood. We love this recipe for Grilled Whole Fish With Minted Grape Relish.

    9. Serve grapes with cheese. We love grapes with blue cheese. Or, serve them with a slice of this savory blue cheese cheesecake.

    10. Use grapes to garnish. You can garnish just about any dish with grapes. For desserts, roll them in confectioners sugar for “frosted” grapes.

    11. Pickle them. Serve pickled grapes with sandwiches, seafood and poultry. Here’s an easy pickling recipe.

    12. Make a dessert soup. Purée the grapes with some grape juice (we prefer Knudsen’s) and mint; sweeten to taste. Garnish with frozen grapes!

    Find more recipe inspiration from the California Table Grape Commission.

      





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