Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Grapes
Earlier this week, we found wild grapes growing outside our office - which considering we work in Clapham Junction, came as quite a surprise. We haven't yet been brave enough to eat them, but it does tell us that grapes must be coming into season (and that long with the walnut and fig trees in our neighbours garden, London is apparently much more exotic than we thought!).
Grapes are actually part of the berry family, available in black (purple and ruby) and white (green or yellow), with a translucent flesh. They grow in bunches and tend to prefer warmer conditions, but can still be grown in the UK - particularly in southern regions. They're in season in the UK from August through to November, with dessert grapes being at their best fresh from the vines.
- Our favourite use for grapes (other than wine) is actually in savoury dishes which contrast well with the sweetness of the grapes. We love to add halved grapes to salads along with rich leafy greens, toasted walnuts and stir fried broccoli.
- They're also great for adding an extra bit of sweetness to crumbles and pies without adding extra sugar. Try mixing a handful of grapes through berries or apples and rhubarb whilst stewing.
- And the same goes for juices and smoothies - a few grapes can quickly take a juice or smoothie from not too palatable to sweet and enjoyable.
- Frozen grapes are the perfect snack, and their sweetness makes them the perfect sugary sweets replacement. Just pop a fresh punnet in the freezer and you're good to go!