Ingredient Feature

Grape Expectations

September 9, 2015

Photo Credit: Foodstander gustin

When we hear grapes, we often think one of two things: peanut butter and jelly, or wine. And while the lunchbox staple and Mommy’s favorite nighttime savior are not to be undervalued (let’s face it, the two have sustained kids and adults alike for ages) grapes are a lot more versatile than they may seem.

It’s hard not to like the sensation and flavor of a firm, sweet grape bursting in your mouth as you bite through the skin and release the juicy, refreshing pulp. But if you can resist devouring all of them out of the bowl, put grapes in a salad with some arugula, toasted nuts, cheese, and a simple vinaigrette for an easy late-summer lunch. Or roast them in the oven with potatoes and parsnips to serve with meat or chicken once the weather starts to cool down.

What’s the difference between table grapes and wine grapes? Table grapes are a lot larger in size, and have thicker pulp and thinner skins, making the pulp to skin ratio a lot higher. You know how a red wine can be described as tannic? This dry, bitter sensation in your mouth is caused by the contact grape skins have with the juice, as tannins are a polyphenol found in grape skins. In general the more contact the skins have with the juice, the more tannic the wine will be. So it makes sense that table grapes have thinner skins than wine grapes, as we don’t want to be left with a mouthful of bitterness.

Why are the grapes so different? They do vary by variety, but the differences between table grapes and wine grapes are heightened by the way they are grown on the vine. Since growers want wine grapes to have the sweetest, most concentrated flavor, they design trellises to maximize the exposure to the sun, while table grape trellises encourage beautifully hanging, intact clusters.

How to Pick:

Choose grapes that are plump, firm, have intact skins, and are attached to the stem. And if it’s possible, pop a grape in your mouth and give it a taste test to make sure it’s sweet. Not much sadder than a sour grape…

How to Store/Clean:

Keep grapes unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. What’s that white stuff on my grapes? It’s called cutin, aka bloom, and is a naturally occurring waxy coating that helps maintain moisture and prevent spoilage. So refrain from washing your grapes until you’re ready to eat them. And when you are ready, simply give them a quick rinse with cold water.

Grape, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake

Recipe by: Gourmetphd Photo Credit: James Ransom Courtesy of: Food52


1 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat is fine)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 eggs
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground almonds (also called almond meal)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups seedless red grapes (cut in half lengthwise)


Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk by hand the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice until well blended (this could also be done in a blender or stand mixer).

Add the sugar, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Spray individual tart molds with olive oil. Divide the batter equally between tart molds. Press the grape halves decoratively into the batter, cut-side down.

Bake for 15 mins or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool before eating or not. Could be served with some greek yogurt with honey on the side.

Serves 6

Featured Grape Recipes from Foodstand Posts!

Wondering how to make that inspiring post you saw on Foodstand?
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Concord Grape Chia Jam

Homemade by foodbymars
The taste is next level… and the COLOR is pure eye candy!


3 cups of concord grapes
2 tbsp honey
5 tbsp chia seeds


Begin by separating the skins of the grapes from the pit, simply squeeze on the grape and you’ll see the inside pop out. Leave the seeds. Add grape pits to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low until they breakdown to form a liquid.

Using a strainer you can try to kick some of the seeds out at this point and pour the liquid onto the bowl with the skins. Pressing down with a fork until the skins are infused and the whole mixture is turning red/purple. For any remaining seeds, pick them out with your hands.

Add the whole mixture (less seeds) back into the saucepan and add the honey, stirring for a few minutes until everything has nicely meshed together on low-medium heat.

Turn heat off and let rest for a couple of minutes, there may still be chunks of skin, so add the whole mixture to a blender and pulse until smooth quickly (it won’t need a lot of mixing, just enough to break up the skins further).

Add chia seeds to the mixture and stir (or if you want to add to your blender/mason jar… close and shake with the chia seeds inside!

Pour mixture into a jar with a lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes while it sets. After this, you’re good to go!


Stuffed Grape Leaves

Homemade by AJShannon


2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, minced
1 1/2 cups white rice, uncooked
Hot water
1 tsp. dried mint
1 Tbsp. dried dill weed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 8-oz. jar grape leaves, drained
Juice of 1 lemon


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Stir in the rice and just enough hot water to cover the rice. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the rice is half cooked, about 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the mint, dill weed, salt, and pepper, then allow the mixture to cool.

Rinse the grape leaves in warm water, drain, and cut off the stems. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cooled rice mixture onto the center of each leaf. Fold in the sides and then roll into a cigar shape.

To protect the stuffed grape leaves from direct heat during steaming, place a steaming basket or bowl in a large pot and add the stuffed grape leaves to the basket or bowl.

Pour in just enough hot water to reach the bottom of the first layer of grape leaves. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked. Check the water level often and add more as necessary.

Combine the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of oil in a small dish and sprinkle over the cooked dolma before serving.

Makes 8 servings

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