By Charity Shumway |

What To Do With Concord Grapes

Last year Nadia rhapsodized about homemade concord grape juice and suggested several brilliant uses for the elixir: grape marshmallows, grape panna cotta parfait, and simple but perfect grape jelly. (I had to use bold because my exuberant feelings for these grape recipes cannot be contained in regular-sized letters). If you need a reminder, all the recipes plus instructions for making the concord grape juice itself are here. I also doled out instructions for growing grapes in a container. Yes, it can be done!

In fact, my grapevines are now in their second year of patio living. Last year, their first year, they sadly bore no fruit. But this year, this year is a fruiting year!  Here, however, is where I must tell you something. The grapes are a little on the tiny side. Take a look.

Perfect little jewels, and oh so full of juicy sweetness and that wonderful jelly center that makes concord grapes such a multi-sensory delight, but yeah, tiny. Which means not really enough fruit to make Nadia’s recipes without some serious supplementing from the farmer’s market. And yet, they have been the delight of my fall garden.

Here is my recipe for what to do with your patio concord grapes, be they ever so humble:

  1. Wrap a scarf around your neck and walk outside onto the cool patio.
  2. Get right up close and look at your grapes’ changing colors. From green to blush pink to a regal burgundy all the way to a purple so deep it’s almost blue.
  3. Pluck a few of the darkest grapes off the vine. Notice the pretty way they split at the top where you pull them from their stems, the juice already sparkling.
  4. Put one tiny grape in your mouth and crush it with your teeth. Feel that shot of rich sweetness. It almost makes your glands ache. Savor that jelly center. Roll it around on your tongue. One tiny grape can last a surprisingly long time.
  5. Do this again with the next grape. And if you’re lucky, a third.
  6. Repeat tomorrow.
Maybe someone out there would say it’s a waste of space and effort, having grapevines that produce only a few handfuls of bitsy fruit. I say those bitsy fruits are perfect and worth every trip to the sink to fill my watering can.
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