What’s In Season: Grapes

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What’s In Season: Grapes

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Who doesn’t like grapes? They’re crisp, smooth, gorgeous, tart, and as naturally sweet as can be.  Now that they’re in season, they’re probably coming to you fresh from California rather than imported, so they will be firm and filled with flavor! Grapes are a perfect, no-fuss, bite-size snack on their own.  A handful of chilled grapes promises a refreshing burst of sweetness after a workout, or delicate addition to late afternoon summer cocktail (try freezing them for this – grapes make lovely ice cubes).

A Sweet History
Humans have been eating—and drinking—grapes since prehistoric times.  They are native to at least three continents and grow in thousands of varieties.  Table grapes in the United States are usually propagated to be seedless and thin-skinned for eating, whereas wine grapes are propagated to have thick skin for a fuller-flavored wine.  Grapes are usually shades of purple or green, sometimes called red or white, with a light green interior.  If you have a chance to try the almost indigo-colored concord grapes this fall, you will be amazed at their musky richness – and they look very sleek on a cheese platter

What’s So Great About Grapes?
Before you start to worry about high sugar content, grapes are one of those foods that have an ever-increasing list of nutritional benefits. Like other berries (yes, grapes, like bananas, are botanically berries!), grapes are filled with anti-oxidants linked to cancer-fighting properties.  Studies have shown that grapes may play a role in sugar and insulin regulation, aid in cognitive function, offer longevity, and help the body fight bacteria and inflammation.  Most of their nutritional value lies in their skins, which is why your doctor (or a French person) may have told you that a moderate intake of red wine is good for you.  Yes, please!

Selection
When you’re shopping for grapes, look for firm, smooth clusters, free of wrinkles or piles of loose grapes, indicators that they may be old or damaged.  Organic grapes are preferable if you can swing it; unfortunately, conventional grapes hold high pesticide residues on their skins.  Wash and dry them thoroughly or drain in a colander right before consuming them.  This way, they can last about a week in the refrigerator.  Throw them into your healthy kid’s lunch, or try them with an assorted fruit tray, nuts, salads, grilled meats, wilted greens, tuna melts, or in makeshift leftovers like Curry Chicken Salad.

Here are some grape Test Kitchen recipes:

Chilled Fruit Soup
A perfect summer recipe featuring melons, apples, and berries, pureed and chilled like a sweet gazpacho!

Grape Salad
Assemble and throw in the fridge overnight for tomorrow’s picnic.

Jamie’s Salad with Maple Red Wine Vinaigrette
Grapes and pistachios balance out the bitter radicchio in this elegant salad.

Pecan Chicken
Tasty and easy: batter, bake, walk away, and finish off with roasted grapes!

Read More From Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables.

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Reader Comments:

54321

Talking about grapes, I used to pick them off the stems, wash & dry them and throw them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer. Put them in containers and keep in the freezer until you want something cold and sweet for a snack. My kids loved them and still do. Oh, and by the way you didn't have to pick up wrappers after them.

By Sharon Grant on August 19, 2013

54321

PAULA, WE LOVE YOU. YOUR COOK BOOKS & RECIPES ARE AWESOME. WE HAVE BEEN TO YOUR RESTAURANT & REALLY ENJOYED IT. IN FACT WE ATE THERE TWICE. WE LOVE THE TOWN OF SAVANNAH & PLAN TO COME BACK. YOU HAVE A LOT OF FANS. LOVE, CAROL BAYER PS I MISS YOUR TV SHOW...............I WATCHED IT EVERY DAY...

By CAROL J. BAYER on August 19, 2013

54321

Instead of using ice to make slushies or smoothies, I freeze white grapes and let thm replace the ice, it tastes much better & doesn't dilute the drink as much.

By Frances Thomas on August 17, 2013

54321

Paula, Jack will love the frozen red grapes. Wash, dry lay in a single layer and once they are frozen just put them in a plastic bag and they are so good on a hot day. My boys think they are great....

By JoAn Real on August 16, 2013

54321

Sure do miss seeing you,Paula. Miss your show. Love ya

By Sharolynn on August 16, 2013

54321

Another thing to do with grapes, is after chilling them, dip them in chocolate, or coat them with the hard chocolate. Oh my goodness! I must admitt I am addicted! My mom was from North Carolina & they have what is called " fox grapes". These grapes grow in the mountains. You can't find them really except for the wild. Well, 2 years ago we lost our home. We now rent part of a farm house from the Amish. Their grapes are FOX GRAPES. They call the by a different name. Fox grapes have skin, that when you squeeze them, the insides pop out. They have a wine taste. Very very good. Thanks for ALL your great books Deb PS you are a great southern lady, as my grandma was. You keep your head up & keep being Paula!

By Debbie McGuire on August 16, 2013

54321

It sure would be nice if the media gave as much coverage to the news of your vindication as they did when all the accusations were being made against you. I am very sorry for what you and your family has had to go through. I attended your weekend seminar a few years back in Nashville with a friend and we had a blast! Don't know if you remember us but we were the ladies from Williams Sonoma and we love you. Keep your head high and come back stronger than before. Martha Stewart did it and I have no doubt that you will too!

By Toni Watson on August 15, 2013

54321

thanks for your lovely everything

By John Hensley on August 13, 2013

54321

I never ever have wrote anything on a website before, but I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that people are always out to hurt someone. Usually I have found its because you have something that they don't have. They have forgotten about not casting stones unless they are without the same sin. Thank you for being just who you are.

By Debbie Carr on August 12, 2013

54321

Paula,I want to tell you that I love you,I and I have many of your cookbooks.

By Nancy Hunkapillar on August 12, 2013

54321

Paula I sure hope some day the news media would stop bashing good people. And go after the bad people that rape and murder.

By Glenda Shows on August 11, 2013

54321

We all love you, Paula!!!

By Jo Ellen Frindik on August 11, 2013

54321

Love your cook books and have tried so many of your recipes. Been to your restaurant three time and loved the food and hospitality. My whole family has your back. God Bless and keep the faith. Always, Jeannine Ferguson-Barnes

By Jeannine Barnes on August 11, 2013

54321

Love your ideas on grapes.. my grapes are almost ready .. gonna use some of your ideas thanks

By roxanna mills on August 10, 2013

54321

Love everything you cook Paula. Love and miss you. Hope you will be back soon.

By Ms. Jimmie Davies on August 10, 2013

54321

My favorite thing to do with grapes is to freeze them. Then when ready for a snack, get some out and eat them. So cold and sweet, and they quench your thirst as well as fulfill your craving. My friends are all hooked on this now too. Try it, you'll like it.

By Rudy Thomas on August 10, 2013

54321

I am so happy that your family is back. You will go far beyond where you have been before. You were the only one that I watched on the Food Network.

By Mary on August 10, 2013

54321

I wanted to eat at Lady and sons but it is out of the question now !! I had a massive stroke and can't walk!! I also lost the use of the left side of my body !! Sending prayers to you and your family

By Martha Parker on August 10, 2013

54321

Love your recipes, Paula

By Pat mathis on August 10, 2013

54321

Speaking of grapes, Concord grape pie is my favorite. And it can easily be altered for diabetics.

By Bjandree@aol.com on August 10, 2013

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