Thursday, June 25, 2020 • Holidays
Fresh produce is one of those delicious, necessary 'evils': it's amazing when you're eating it, but if you don't eat it fast enough, it'll spoil, mold, or rot. Like us, I'm sure you've found yourself sighing at a bunch of black-spotted bananas or lamenting at fuzzy strawberries.
While there are plenty of solutions for fruits and veggies out there (a quick search on Google will turn up more results than you can digest), we'd like to address one of the most important fruits in the world: grapes. After all, without them, we don't have wine, and that's a thought we're not willing to linger on. Grapes are a little tricky anyhow, as they're not necessarily the easiest to bake into bread or blend into a smoothie. So if you've found yourself in our shoes, staring into your refrigerator at some sad, withered grapes, take a gander at these 5 quick and easy choices so they don't go to waste.
1. Roast them. Something about heat can bring a richer flavor to fruits, like grilled pineapple or baked blackberries. With grapes, they're especially delicious when you toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with a touch of salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 420° on a cookie sheet until the skins begin to split, about 20-25 minutes. Allow them to cool enough to touch, then enjoy over salads, tossed in a fabulous Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, or snack on them alone. They'll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, which is a lot more life than they had raw.
2. Freeze them. This is one of the easiest solutions there is, and we'll add that it's one of the best summer solutions too. Frozen grapes are like a cross between sorbet bites and popsicles; a quick, sweet treat without the calories that'll cool you off on a hot day. Wash your grapes well, spread them out evenly in a dish or pan, and freeze for 1-2 hours. You can store them in a Ziploc bag for months! They also make fantastic "ice cubes" for keeping white wine chilled and sangria cold, without watering them down.
3. Dehydrate them. Why make your own raisins, you ask? We counter with: why not? You have the grapes. You have an oven (or dehydrator). Let's put them to use! Preheat your oven to 180°. Rinse your grapes and blanch them for 30 seconds in a pot of boiling water, then quickly transfer to a bowl of ice water. Remove the stems, cut each grape in half, lay them in a single later on a cookie sheet or pan, and allow to dry in the oven for 18-24 hours. Rotate the grapes at around the 12-hour mark to prevent sticking. Voila! These grapes will keep as long as you care to have them around, which for us, was only a day or two — they're so good!
4. Juice them. Homemade grape juice is delicious, and this is a very quick fix for a bunch of grapes you don't have time to fuss with, especially if you have a juicer. While 'leftover' grapes won't create much juice, it'll be enough to add to a cocktail, another kind of juice you already have, or simply sip on by itself. You also have the option of pouring the grape juice into a popsicle mold and creating your own grape popsicles! Just toss them in the juicer chute and prepare to enjoy!
5. Use them in a recipe. Like we mentioned above, it's not necessarily easy to bake grapes into a muffin, and their texture can make smoothies a little weird (if you're sensitive to texture). However, the internet holds a vast array of recipes that use old grapes in very neat ways! Here's a quick roundup of some of our favorite web discoveries:
Roasted Grape Granita: Basically a frozen grape sorbet with rich flavor, and pairs well with a glass of red!
Grape Liqueur: Can you imagine adding this to cocktail recipes, or even wine? Yum! Grape Jelly: A timeless classic! If you have a ton of leftover grapes from an event, then this is a great solution.
Plum and Grape Cobbler: Thanksgiving dessert idea. Need we say more?
Grape, Fig, and Goat Cheese Flatbread: Swap out the pomegranate seeds for grapes, prepared like you're going to roast them. Our mouth is watering at that idea, especially since that flatbread recipe is to die for.
Do you have any tips, tricks, or techniques for salvaging old grapes? Please share with us on social media — we're always looking for ways to save our produce from the garbage bin!
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