Interesting uses for Concord grapes?
July 14, 2020 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Specifically regarding water bath canning: I grow three Concord grape vines and they are pretty generous. Last year I had maybe a dozen half pints of jelly to can. I've only eaten half a dozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my entire adult life. Ideas for something....else?

Prefer to do stuff other people have really tried and liked. To use it up, I've mixed it with soy sauce as a glaze and also made salad dressings with it. Both of those are pretty good, but I don't can either (or really need to, because I make small batches as needed.)

Any ideas? Vinegar? Chutney?

I'll probably make some jelly, but really had to work to use that up last year and I still have a jar.

Please help. They're going to ripen soon. Or should I just suck it up and make the jelly and look for additional uses for the jelly?

If so: ANY IDEAS???
posted by A Terrible Llama to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My dad told me that when he was a kid his family would can grapes in glass jars with some water, to make a grape drink for later.
posted by chromium at 1:22 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am following, because I too have a fruitful concord grape vine. I usually make a lot of juice, which is appreciated by the child. But I did make some Manischewitz style wine one year, mostly as a joke, but we did drink for this years Seder.
posted by brookeb at 1:24 PM on July 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Old school cookbooks often give recipes to can juice, may be worth double checking with a modern reference to make sure it’s still considered safe
posted by genmonster at 1:25 PM on July 14, 2020

Concord grape pie
posted by HotToddy at 1:33 PM on July 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

could you concentrate the juice into a syrup - maybe as a sauce for desserts or to include in drinks?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:34 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Make jello with unflavored gelatine and real juice.
Can/ bottle it, combine with sparkling water for a delicious beverage.
posted by theora55 at 1:43 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I bet you could can shrub, and this looks delicious.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:46 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Homemade jelly is a nice small gift--housewarming or a hostess gift--if you want to make it but not eat it.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:49 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

You can dry them, making raisins. Sun dry (covered with cheesecloth) if your climate permits, otherwise a dehydrator may work.
posted by niicholas at 1:58 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Juice, fizzy drink? US grape juice / drink / soda is ofteb Concord-based.
Would recipes for things with black currant work? We don't have them in the US, which is where 'Concord grapes' come in: purple-flavored medicine tastes like 'grape' rather than blackcurrant Ribena.
Isn't it technically a sloe? Could you fruit up some infused gin?
Can never go wrong with fruit pies.
posted by bartleby at 1:58 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding grape pie. I made some long ago from fresh Concord grapes and it was delish. However, we were dumb college kids and didn't have tools for separating the seeds. We seeded each grape individually. I highly recommend against that.

You can put the jelly on ice cream, pancakes, ... I dunno, cheese?
posted by polecat at 2:00 PM on July 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

A sorbet or sherbet would be outstanding. David Lebovitz has a lovey grape sherbet recipe.
posted by la glaneuse at 2:06 PM on July 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Sloes are in the plum family, not the grape family, so you won't get proper sloe gin out of these. You could still infuse your grapes, though, if you wanted to use that as a Plan B instead of canning.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:12 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Would recipes for things with black currant work?

Don't want to derail and these suggestions are fantastic, please keep them coming, but wanted to note that I do also have an insane amount of *red* currants. I'm freezing batches as they ripen for jelly-making.

Also lots of chiles.

I am not sure about the swap-ability of currants and grapes though I believe both are high in pectin. I would have to Ask A Food Scientist.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2020

Best answer: Thirding the grape pie. I will also recommend pickling them.
posted by darchildre at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2020

re: additional uses for jelly:

If you like kombucha, it's really easy to make your own, and I almost exclusively use jam/jelly as the "fruit and sugar" in the second fermentation - because I have a lot of jam and also don't really like eating it. It works great to use up your jam stores if you still end up with lots of grape jelly!

also, sometimes I make a banana layer cake with peanut butter icing, and the two layers of the cake have a full jar of grape jelly sandwiched between them!
posted by euphoria066 at 2:20 PM on July 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried this but it looks amazing: concord grape rosemary focaccia
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:21 PM on July 14, 2020

The world needs more handmade gifts that are actually delicious. You could make a lovely difference in your community if you just give people tiny jars of lovely jam with the understanding that they would give back something they made, inside the jar (apple sauce, two cookies, a flower -- whatever).
posted by amtho at 2:35 PM on July 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would dearly love to be able to make living Concord grape vinegar from nothing but the grapes themselves and the mother of vinegar.

I've heard of people having success making their own vinegar with mothers from living vinegars they bought in a store, but there must be people out there who have mothers they or others have adapted to Concord grapes, and that seems to me like the best of all potable worlds.
posted by jamjam at 2:53 PM on July 14, 2020

Concord Grape Granita!
posted by emelenjr at 2:53 PM on July 14, 2020

I definitely lean towards trying to make Concord Wine at least once, if you've got the space and time for it.

A coworker of mine once brought in some must to sample, and it was amazingly delicious. It was closer to grape juice, but had a nice fizziness and alcoholic touch on the end. So even if you don't want to go all the way to making a true wine, there is fun to be had in the earlier stages too.
posted by rambling wanderlust at 3:03 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I love petmez (aka pekmez)! Highly preferable to grape jelly. Basically, you mash the grapes, remove the skins and seeds, mix with wood ash, strain, and cook down the juice until it becomes a thick syrup (yeah, this takes a few hours). There are recipes online. Makes a very delicious, naturally sweet sweetener.
posted by hannahelastic at 4:10 PM on July 14, 2020

I’ll add that homemade jelly makes a very appreciated gift for anyone who you would tip at Christmas, like a schoolteacher, postal worker, superintendent, etc.
posted by bq at 5:40 PM on July 14, 2020

My grandma always canned Concord grape juice-it helps if you have access to a steam juicer-and it makes delicious juice-we typically dilute it with equal parts water.

Make and can grape syrup for soda-man, I’d love that.

And I’m a big fan of a PB&J milkshake which must be made with grape jelly. It’s the law.
posted by purenitrous at 6:39 PM on July 14, 2020

Best answer: If less-sweet jelly would be more edible, I use Pomona’s pectin which doesn’t require added sugar to gel, and the resulting jam is delicious and I eat it with a spoon.
posted by momus_window at 6:59 PM on July 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wish I had a surplus of grapes and currants! My current kick is making syrup (for use in sodas and cocktails)—so far this summer, I’ve done rhubarb and spruce tips, and soon it will be time for raspberries and blueberries and cranberries.

Basic recipe for blueberries is 4:2:1 berries:sugar:water, bring to a boil, strain, make fruit leather or jam out of solids (although for Concord grapes I’d put it through a food mill). That may be too much sugar for grapes. Jar up the syrup using hot pack and process for 10 minutes.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:26 PM on July 14, 2020

Seconding using Pomona's so that you don't have to make your jam or jelly so damn sweet. As for using your bounty, my solution is to make a ton of preserves and give it away to evvveryone, which I find incredibly satisfying.

(Also quick-pickled spiced grapes are delicious.)
posted by desuetude at 11:57 PM on July 14, 2020

Another grape pie fan here — specifically Rose Levy Berenbaum’s recipe which is online here. Her method for getting rid of the seeds is very little trouble and the pie is fantastic.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:30 AM on July 15, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I have a little time to consider. Best answered what I'm most likely to try. I love the idea of pickled grapes, though Concords are very seedy so I'm not sure how I'd do it. I will look into it though!

On the currant side, I just realized that the weekend is going to be 100+ degrees so I need to pull the remaining currants and deal with *them* on Friday, when it's still cool. They are ruby red and ready to go. I could freeze them, but then I start playing games with a canning backlog because next up after that is garlic and the grapes after that and then beans and oh god tomatoes.

I really, really like canning. I feel so fortunate in the winter and it seems so special, even Concord grapes which are sort of the Comic Sans of jelly making.

Thanks very much for your input and if anyone has any other ideas, please share!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:04 PM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

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