There is no need to be concerned with eating seasonally when you have done some leg work to preserve some of the fresh produce harvested in the summer and fall months. Recently, we were invited to enjoy the “fruits” (yes, this pun is intended) of our neighbor’s labor by indulging in her numerous red and white grape vines. It was amazing to see the sheer number of grapes waiting to be harvested. We grabbed our recyclable grocery bag and scissors and scored almost a half of bag full of grapes as well as enjoying a sweet grape or two between every snip.
Our first plan was wine, but that seemed a bit involved for our first batch of grapes. We do have a plan for grape jelly (with no added sugar) which we will share when we embark on that recipe in a week or so. But the quickest and simplest way to preserve grapes for consumption throughout the winter months is by freezing them. It is super easy and it preserves their deliciousness perfectly.
How to Freeze Grapes
Step 1: Remove all grapes from stem and place in a colander.
Throw away any over-ripe or damaged grapes.
Step 2: Rinse grapes well. (We picked grapes that were absolutely free of any sprays. If you are unsure of the exposure of your grapes to pesticides, rinse very well and consider allowing them to soak in water and a solution designed to remove pesticides.)
Step 3: Spread grapes (1 layer thick) on cookie sheets to dry in a warm, dry place. You can speed the process along by placing on paper towels and gently rolling them around to dry,
Step 4: After drying, place the grapes (still on the cookie sheets) into the freezer. Let them freeze overnight. This will allow you to store the grapes without them clumping together.
Step 5: The next day, remove the grapes from the freezer and place in gallon freezer bags.
How to Use Frozen Grapes
- They are delicious by themselves as a treat. Just pop into your mouth and enjoy.
- Use as “ice cubes” for your favorite drink. This is great for parties.
- Add into smoothies, especially green smoothies for a refreshing added sweetness.
- Spoon onto sorbet and add some fruity wine or juice for a delicious slushy treat!
Grapes are mostly water and therefore will quickly thaw. If you are not a fan of super cold things on your teeth (like me), place some frozen grapes in the refrigerator and they will quickly become softer and cooler. Enjoy!
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