Horace Greeley named this fruit “the grape for millions.” Although grape farming is an ancient tradition, concord grapes did not make an appearance in popular culture until 1854 in their eponymous hometown in Concord, Massachusetts. Today, Concord grapes are one of America’s most popular fruits. They’re used to make juice, jelly, jam and other treats. Concord grapes have a delicious, instantly-recognizable flavor, but they’re just not ideal for eating as a snack. Concords are full of seeds, and their juicy pulp easily separates from the skin, so it’s easy to turn this healthy snack into a refreshing beverage.
As far as juice goes, Concords are definitely an American favorite thanks to their alluring scent, sweet flavor, and deep, rich color. Concord grape juice is also used to make wine (especially kosher varieties). Grapes are best known for their rich antioxidant properties; however, their nutritional value goes way past just this. They’ve been shown to help lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular function; they also contain a plethora of essential vitamins.
Although Concords can be a bit difficult to find due in large part to their fragility, they’re readily available in New England and the Pacific Northwest. Health food stores will most likely carry them countrywide. When shopping for Concords, look for firm, plump, richly-colored grapes. Try them in juice, pies, or simply enjoy them individually.
Source: www.wikipedia.org, www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, www.health-care-clinic.org, concordgrape.org, vegparadise.com
Image by midiman available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
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Orzo, Grape and Pistachio Salad
1 lb orzo pasta
2 cups grapes
2 cups pistachios, shelled and toasted
1 cup basil, chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup walnut oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 20 mins
1. Toast pistachios: Take 1 cup of pistachios and put in a saucepan with the walnut oil.
2. Warm the oil and nuts together, be careful not to boil.
3. Saute garlic in a little olive oil.
4. Prepare orzo from package instructions.
5. When orzo has been drained, mix in enough of the pistachio/walnut oil mixture to coat the pasta.
6. Add lemon juice to taste.
7. Mix in sauteed garlic.
8. Add grapes, and half the basil.
9. Chill for several hours, or overnight.
10. Before serving, add rest of basil, salt and pepper to taste, and the rest of the pistachios.
Grape and Avocado Salsa
1 1/2 cups grapes, chopped, remove seeds
1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Place the grapes, avocado, red pepper, yellow pepper, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with lime juice, garlic salt, and black pepper. Gently fold the ingredients together until well mixed. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
Curried Cashew, Pear, and Grape Salad
3/4 cup cashew halves
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
1/2 medium Bosc pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup halved grapes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
1. In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast cashews until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove cashews to a dish to cool slightly.
2. Return skillet to medium-high heat, cook bacon strips until crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and soak up grease with a paper towel. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and toasted cashews. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl, stir together white wine vinegar, mustard, and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
5. In a large salad bowl, toss dressing with greens, pear slices, grapes, and bacon, and sprinkle with nut mixture.
Power Purple Antioxidant Fruit Salad
1 1/2 cups purple grapes, halved
2 purple plums
1/4 cup shopped radichio lettuce
1 small onion, thinly sliced rounds
3 tablespoons dried goji berries
6 dried figs, de-stemmed, thinly sliced
1 meyer lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon oil, for fig saute
1 teaspoon course sea salt
1 teaspoon agave syrup
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 mins
Total Time: 13 mins
1. Saute sliced dried figs and 1 tsp olive oil in a skillet for 3-5 minutes, until slightly caramelized.
2. Add all ingredients to large bowl and mix well. Serve right away or chill in fridge.
3. Serve over a bed of fresh mixed greens or as is.
4. Sprinkle top with black sesame seeds.
Broccoli, Grape and Chickpea Salad
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water and then rinsed with cold water
2 cups red/purple grapes, sliced in half if large
19 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 English cucumber, diced 1/4 inch (leave skin on)
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard (I use provencal mustard instead. Add more mustard if you love mustard.)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
salt and pepper, to taste
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
1. Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Whisk remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Combine dressing with salad, and stir again before serving.
4. Best served at room temperature.
Blood Orange, Plum and Grape Juice
1 cup grapes, seedless (or remove seeds)
1 blood orange
1 large plum
seltzer water, to taste
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
1. Peel the orange (leave some zest), chop and remove any seeds.
2. De-stem the grapes.
3. Chop and core the plum. Keep or remove the skin, depending on preference.
4. Blenderize all items with just a little water.
5. Add seltzer water or regular water if you wish, to bring beverage to desired thickness. Stir gently with a spoon
Concord Grape Conserve
7 cups grapes, washed and stemmed
1/2 cup honey
1/4 lemon, seeded and sliced paper thin
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
1. Slip skins off grapes and reserve.
2. Bring pulp to a boil in a stainless or enamel saucepan.
3. Simmer over low heat until seeds are loosened.
4. Press Pulp through a food mill or ricer to remove seeds.
5. Combine grape puree, grape skins, honey, lemon slices, raisins and pecans.
6. Simmer over low heat to plump raisins, around 10-12 minutes.
7. Pour into hot, sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
9. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
10. Altitudes higher than 1000 feet see adjustment chart.
Yield: 4 half pint jars
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