What to do with grapes on vines?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

When it comes to what to do with grapes on vines, the possibilities are quite diverse. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your grape harvest:

1. Grape Juice: One of the simplest and most delicious ways to enjoy fresh grapes is by making grape juice. Simply wash and remove the stems, then press the grapes to extract the juice. You can enjoy it as-is or add a bit of sweetener if desired.

2. Verjus: Verjus is the juice of unripe grapes and is often used as a gentle acid in cooking. It can be used for deglazing pans, making salad dressings, or adding a unique flavor to sauces and marinades.

3. Jams and Jellies: Grapes can be transformed into delightful jams and jellies. Cook them down with sugar and a bit of lemon juice to create a spreadable treat that can be enjoyed on toast, scones, or even paired with cheese.

4. Shrubs: Grape shrubs are a type of vinegar-based syrup that can be used to make refreshing drinks. Combine equal parts grape juice, vinegar, and sugar, then let it sit for a few days to infuse. Mix with sparkling water for a tangy and fizzy beverage.

5. Fermented Sodas: If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try fermenting your grape juice to make homemade sodas. Add a bit of yeast or a natural starter culture, then let it sit at room temperature for a few days. The result is a naturally carbonated and probiotic-rich drink.

6. Dried Grapes: Drying grapes is a classic way to preserve them. You can either sun-dry them or use a dehydrator to remove the moisture. The result is sweet and chewy raisins that can be enjoyed as a snack or used in baking and cooking.

7. Pickled Grapes: Pickling grapes may sound unusual, but it’s a delicious way to enjoy their sweet and tangy flavors. You can pickle them whole or halved in a brine of vinegar, water, sugar, and spices. The resulting pickled grapes are great for charcuterie boards or as a unique addition to salads.

Remember, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity and taste preferences. Experiment with different methods and flavors to find what you enjoy the most. So, whether you’re making grape juice, trying your hand at pickling, or exploring the world of grape-based beverages, have fun and savor the flavors of your grape harvest.