For some reason it never occurs to me that grapes are an autumn fruit, but indeed they are.
Grapes are typically harvested between August and October.
When we were in the Finger Lakes over Labor Day weekend we went apple picking. We were quickly seduced by the delightfully strong and sweet aroma of the concord grapevines a few rows over.
Impulsively, I picked five pounds. Quite quickly too, the vines were lush with grapes.
I may have eaten a few Cleopatra-style.
These bad boys were plump and tasted like candy.
For the first two weeks I ate them plain. Yum!
Then I realized, there is NO way I’m going to eat my way through five pounds before these start to go bad. So I put my thinking cap on and… it immediately went to dessert.
Specifically, ice cream. Grape ice cream.
Berry ice cream is difficult to get right. We had delicious homemade blueberry ice cream at a local ice cream shoppe this summer, and it was so good – a real fruit concentrate makes all the difference. I was inspired.
First we hauled out the juicer. We own a beast of a Jack LaLanne juicer and it came in handy for this recipe! (There are other methods of boiling and straining through cheesecloth, but this was obviously much faster and easier.)
We juiced about 3 pounds of grapes, and we sent the skins through about 5 times before we felt like we got all the juices out.
The result was about three cups of unadulterated grape juice. We drank one cup over ice (yum!).
Sorry for the blah-lit photos. Most of our life happens after work. Aka, when there is no more natural light. : (
The other two cups of grape juice I put on the stove to boil. I slowly stirred in one cup of sugar. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Then I transferred it to a covered dish and left it in the fridge overnight to thicken.
The next day I started making the recipe for vanilla ice cream in my Cuisinart ice cream maker.
As the ice cream started to thicken I poured in 2 cups of the grape concentrate and let it stir until completed. The concentrate will make the ice cream slightly runnier than usual. You will want to let it firm up in the freezer.
The result was a creamy, light, grape ice cream!
And definitely not artificial “grape”. My husband said he thought I was crazy when I first started talking about making grape ice cream, since most grape-flavored things taste so fake, but he was pleasantly surprised.
If mine looks drippy it’s because I couldn’t wait any longer to try it 🙂
YUM! This will definitely be a repeated recipe next year.
Grape Concentrate Ingredients:
3 pounds concord grapes
1 cup sugar
Ice Cream Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract