Grapes Are Always in Season

By Slusser, Richard | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 19, 1996 | Go to article overview

Grapes Are Always in Season


Slusser, Richard, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


What would we do without grapes? Wines wouldn't be the same, and oatmeal cookies would be a bore. And no grapeseed oil for very particular cooks.

Chilled grapes are so calm. True, at room temperature their flavor is more savory, but it's that bit of coolness they bring from the fridge that makes them so welcome in summer.

Actually, I drank Grapette before I could appreciate the real fruit, and I remember squabbling with my sister over the precious few grapes in cans of Del Monte's fruit cocktail. But my sister became so fond of Grapette that we wondered how she would cope without it. But she has.

Later on, Welches entered the scene and its sweet grape juice became the drink of choice for kids' from coast to coast. And then the jelly became popular, especially with peanut butter.

But now, thanks to air freight, we have grapes the year round from either South or North America. As the season is fading on one continent, grapes are ripening on the other.

Today's supermarket packages have an awful lot of grapes in one plastic bag, which means that consumers also must take the grapes that have fallen off the bunch. But this can be avoided by lifting out the bunch, dumping out the loose grapes and putting the bunch and the intact grapes back in the plastic bag. You want a bunch of grapes, you get a bunch of grapes.

Look for bunches of grapes whose stems have not dried, and at the stem end, check to be sure there is no brownish spot where the grape is attached. Then wash, enjoy and have a grape summer.

As for summer salads, think about combining pieces of chicken with white grapes and walnuts and a mayonnaise or yogurt dressing. Or grapes with a robust salad green such as arugula or watercress and an oil and vinegar dressing.

Grape also are used to great advantage in fruit tarts: They look so cool under a shimmering glaze as they lie in a geometric pattern on custard and pastry. …

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