ITEM OF THE WEEK : Grapes

First cultivated in the Middle East, Grapes have been grown the world over for thousands of years -- leading to a family of fruit called Vitis that now includes more than 5,000 varieties, each with a distinctive history, color, size, shape, use and taste! Of the eight species in the Vitis genus, six are native to North America. Here in New York, we are home to five major grape-growing regions, more than 1,600 family vineyards, and 350 wineries. Our grape harvest runs from August to October, and our most commonly produced variety is the American Concord.
 
Tips

* To store, remove any damaged or spoiled grapes from the bunch. Keep unwashed in a bag in the refrigerator.
* The white dusty material, or “bloom,” on the grape is a substance the plant produces to protect the grapes from moisture loss.
* To cook grapes with seeds, the easiest method is to simmer them down with a little water, then press the mash through a sieve to remove seeds.
* Seedless grapes may date back to Roman times, but we trace modern-day varieties to the late 1800s, when William Thompson grafted a branch from a “dud” plant that had been producing no seeds onto other stock. Seedless grapes have been produced by the grafting method ever since.
 
 



 

RECIPE of the week: 

Roasted Grape Slaw
 

 

Ingredients: 
Roasted Grapes:
* 1/2 lb. grapes in small clusters
* 3/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
* Freshly ground pepper, to taste
 
Vinaigrette Dressing:
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 tsp. mustard
* 1/ 2 tsp. sea salt or kosher
* 1 tsp.  freshly ground pepper
* 2 tsp.  chopped fresh mint
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
 
Slaw:
* 1 cabbage, cored & finely shredded
* 2-3 leaves collards, blanched or soaked in salt water, and julienned
* 2 large carrots, peeled & julienned
* 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange grape clusters in single layer on a baking sheet. Add oil, salt and pepper. Roast until skins are slightly crisp but grapes are still soft and juicy inside, about 15 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, mix ingredients for dressing until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, combine ingredients for slaw, plus grapes. Add dressing and toss until well blended. If possible, refrigerate one hour and toss again to mix before serving.