9.21.10 Grape Crush
Yes, yes, I know I've already chewed your ear about the wonders of the Concord grape, but I simply must convince you somehow of the absolute necessity of getting your hands on these beauties before they slip away. Run, don't walk, to your nearest farmers market and buy great heaps of them. If nothing else, you will swoon at the smell, perfuming whatever room you set them in. I just learned that they are known as Vitis labrusca, the "fox grape," because of their special "foxy musk," a candied-strawberry aroma that verges on the pornographic. Be very jealous, because our nearby Riverbrook Farm also grows a green variety called Himrod that is every bit as voluptuous and tangy. I can't decided which color I have a bigger crush on. I made juice with the green and sorbet with the purple, and you'll be doing yourself a favor if you try both. Plus they're full of flavonoids and positively bursting with antioxidant benefits.
The technique for making juice and sorbet is essentially the same, and it's no big deal. You need grapes, patience, a large pot and a strainer.You can't preserve (or "put up") the juice without adding a bunch of sugar, but you could freeze it, or just drink it now, as I'm doing. I made a delicious cocktail with bourbon, grape juice and basil muddled in a little lime juice. Let's call it the Grape Crush. (I just googled that and it already exists, but it's made with vodka, Chambord and sour mix—horrors! I don't believe it deserves to live.)
Fox Grape Juice
1 flat of grapes makes about 1.5 litres
- — Concord or similar grapes
- — agave nectar or organic sugar
- — juice of a lemon
Remove the grapes from the stem, then rinse and drain well in a big colander.
Place them in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat and mash them with an immersion blender or potato masher to release the juice. Continue cooking over low heat for about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then pass through a fine mesh strainer, pushing hard on the solids to extract as much juice as possible.
Stir in agave nectar or organic sugar to taste; add the juice of a lemon to balance acidity, as needed. Bottle and store in fridge. Drink within one week.