My wonderful parents visited last weekend. They are wonderful in many ways, but particularly so because they hand-picked and hand-delivered 20 pounds of concord grapes to my doorstep.
The first few days were lovely – my kitchen smelled like vineyard deliciousness and we made my Concord Grape ice cream again! Then the fruit flies started to descend and I knew I needed to do something quickly!
The bulk of them went into the freezer (rinse, air dry, then freezer bag), and on a whim I decided to try making a concord grape simple syrup with what we hadn’t eaten already. I’d gotten into the routine of making mint simple syrup this spring – and it’s a lip-smacking addition to iced tea, lemonade, and mojitos – I thought how delicious muddled raspberries, concord grape simple syrup and seltzer would be – and I was motivated! (And I promptly tested my theory – it was tasty.)
Next summer I will need to think ahead and make it in bulk – I think these would be great hostess gifts!
Concord Grape Simple Syrup:
1. Wash 1 lb of grapes and put them into a pot with 2 TB water
2. Let simmer until the grapes pop open
3. Drain the mixture drain through a fine mesh strainer. You can use cheesecloth if you’re fancy and have that kind of thing on hand, which I never do. I just run it through a fine mesh strainer twice, pressing down the pulp with a spoon to get all the juice. Discard the pulp.
4. For every cup of grape juice you have, add .5 cup of water and 2 cups sugar to a pot.
5. Simmer until sugar is dissolved
6. Transfer to a glass bottle or jar while still warm. I pour it through the strainer (for good measure) into a funnel, into the bottle. (I get bottles from IKEA.)
Mint Simple Syrup
1. Collect about 15 mint leaves
2. In a pot, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar
3. Mash the mint leaves in your palm a bit and toss in the pot
4. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved
5. Remove the mint leaves and pour syrup into a glass bottle or jar
Be sure to keep an eye on your simmering grapes to avoid a grape explosion… If I had my wits about me I’d have taken a photograph of the purple horror scene my (white) kitchen became while simmering grapes. I was running around the house doing laundry, while the grapes were simmering, and I walk through the kitchen only to find dark purple juice spattered all over my floor, the stove, the countertop, and my white cabinetry (upper and lower). Fortunately with a bit of scrubbing everything was looking good as new.
So tell me, what would you make with Concord Grape or Mint Simple Syrup? I have plenty left over for more taste testing!