Grape Season Cooking With Grapes

By jwickes, Feb 17, 2010 | |
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     History / Geography
    Grapes are the oldest fruit known to man. The Spanish are credited with the introduction of grapes to America over 300 years ago.

    Grapes are grown in the temperate zones around the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.

    California is the United States' major grape producer.

    Science
    Grapes are really berries.

    [​IMG]Varieties
    There are over 8000 varieties of grapes all of which are smooth-skinned and juicy. Some of these have seeds, others are seedless. Some have a "slip-skin", a skin which can easily be removed, and others do not. Grapes have two different color categorical types; white or black. The white grapes range in color from yellow to a light green, whereas the black range in color from red to a purplish black. Commercially grapes are divided into three types: wine grapes (with a high acidity, thus too tart to eat); table grapes (low acidity); and grapes for commercial food production such as raisins, currants, grape jelly, juice etc.

    Season
    Late summer

    How to Select
    Choose plump, brightly colored berries with no sign of browning and no sign of green (a sign that the grapes are not ripe - grapes will not ripen after being picked). If possible shake each bunch gently. If any grapes fall off the vine then the grapes are too old. If they remain tightly onto their vine then they are suitable to take home.

    Storage
    Store grapes unwashed in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week!

    Nutritional Qualities
    Vitamin A

    Trivia
    In ancient times grapes were eaten to increase one's fertility and to increase one's chances at having dreams. Also, in ancient Egypt, mummies were often entombed with grapes in their graves.

    Equivalencies
    1 lb. fresh = 2 1/2 - 3 cups cut up

    Preparation
    Wash thoroughly in a water and lemon juice (or white vinegar) before eating. This will help remove any insecticides sprayed on the grapes while growing.

    Grapes are best served fresh and cold at approximately 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). To achieve this remove grapes from the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes prior to serving.

    If you would like your grapes peeled freeze them first. Then make a slight incision into the skin with a pairing knife and begin peeling the skin off.

    Additional Information (Web Sites)
    http://www.tablegrape.com
    http://www.concordgrape.org

    Recipes

    Curried Chicken Salad
    by Jennifer A. Wickes
    copyright 2004

    2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1/2 cup diced celery
    1/2 cup quartered seedless black grapes
    2 tablespoons chutney
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup Curry French Dressing (recipe below)
    mixed greens
    1 orange -- peeled and sectioned
    1 grapefruit -- peeled and sectioned
    1 apple -- sliced
    2 pears -- halved
    ginger

    Cook the chicken breast by boiling them in water for 20 minutes. Cool the chicken and cut into small cube sized pieces. Combine the chicken, celery, grapes, chutney, salt and Curry French Salad Dressing in a bowl and chill several hours.

    Serve on the bed of mixed greens. Surround with the fruit. Add some ginger on top of the pears.

    Yields: 2 servings

    Curry French Dressing
    By Jennifer A. Wickes
    copyright 2004

    6 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    2/3 teaspoon curry powder
    salt and pepper

    Put all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously. Chill for several hours. Shake again before using.

    Fresh Grape Salsa
    By California Table Grape Commission

    2 cups California seedless grapes -- coarsely chopped
    1/2 cup green onion -- chopped
    1/2 cup fresh Anaheim chile, chopped -- or canned chile.
    2 tablespoons cilantro -- chopped
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    1 clove garlic -- minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce

    Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving. Drain off excess liquid before serving.

    Yields: 6 servings

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