Talk about total utilization of a product. That’s grapes for you.
Fresh grapes are eaten as is or used as a cooking ingredient. They’re squeezed for juice and wine.
Grape juice is used as a beverage and a cooking ingredient and as the main component for many jellies and jams.
Dried grapes — raisins — are used as a quick snack and an ingredient in cold and hot foods, pureed as a fat replacer for bakery products and as a natural sweetener.
Grape seeds are pressed for oil. Grapeseed oil is popular for its bracing flavor and health benefits.
Grape leaves are used as wrappers for grains, meats and vegetables, served as hot and cold appetizers and entrees.
Even grape peels and grape wood have their uses. Grape peels that remain after grapes are pressed for juice and wine are fermented to produce grappa and other strong alcoholic beverages. Grapevine wood is fragrant and sought after by smoking and barbecuing enthusiasts.
Think about all the ways you can add grapes to your cooking. You can add grapes to blender drinks, top ice cream creations with grapes, flame and use them as a garnish for dessert and chop and add them to savory sauces for a hint of sweetness.
Add grapes to poultry dishes, seafood, curries, stews, pasta salads, muffin and quick bread batter, stuffings and vegetable dishes.
Because of their versatile flavor, they can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Here are some ideas:
• Sliced green and red grapes in cornbread stuffing.
• Sliced green grapes in rice pilaf.
• Sliced concord grapes in lemon and poppyseed muffins.
• Thinly sliced red grapes in custard or flan.
• Red grapes used as pie filling, in the style of blueberries or strawberries.
• Small whole grapes glazed with apricot preserves as a garnish for tarts and cakes.
• Small whole or sliced red grapes mixed with green beans amandine.
• Chopped green grapes mixed into tomato or mango salsa.
• Chopped red or green grapes mixed into citrus or berry vinaigrettes.
• Whole red grapes added to skewers when grilling brochettes.
• Sliced red grapes added to sweet and sour sauces for poultry or meat.
• Scattered sliced red grapes added to omelets or quiches.
• Sliced green grapes added to sauteed shrimp or scallop dishes.
• Frosted red grapes used as a garnish for fire and ice salads — salads with a cool base, such as baby greens or pasta, topped with a hot meat, such as grilled chicken or roasted shrimp. Frost grapes by rolling in a thin egg white wash and freezing until firm.
Nancy Berkoff is a registered dietitian and chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food industry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.