This post was originally from September of 2013.
Grape season has come upon us here in upstate New York once again. On the roadsides along the Finger Lakes (a little more than an hour from where I live), signs advertise grapes or grape juice for sale. The wineries prepare for an onslaught of tourists for harvest season.
And then there is a regional favorite - grape pie.
I love to eat Concord grapes and, I have to admit, they do make a wonderful pie. I also put them on my breakfast cereal. In season, I can't get enough. So join me for a Throwback post on grape pie.
Grape pie, oh my.
You've heard of apple pie, strawberry/rhubarb pie, peach pie, pecan pie,
and blueberry pie. Everyone has their favorite recipe for pie and many
regions of our country have a pie that represents them.
For parts of upstate New York, our local pie of pride is grape pie, made with Concord grapes.
Yes, Concord Grapes. Those grapes, the grapes you find in concord grape
jelly and grape juice and yes, certain types of very sweet wine. But,
commercial varieties of those products don't always reveal the true
taste of the concord grape. (I never tasted "true" grape jelly until I
was about 14 years old - and then, never went back to the commercial
For that, and a grape pie, you need fresh Concord grapes, which are
available in many farmers markets here in the Binghamton, New York area
at this time of year. These grapes can be more expensive than
supermarket grapes but they are a native heirloom. Support your local
Concord grapes were developed, in 1849, from a wild, North American
grape. I am not any kind of grape expert, but I do know there were
problems with disease affecting European grapes that the early settlers
tried to grow. The Concord grape,
developed in Concord, Massachusetts escaped those problems because of
their native American heritage, plus they matured relatively early,
perfect for escaping the first frosts.
In 1869, a New Jersey dentist, Dr.Welch, developed a bottled unfermented
grape juice, using the then new process of pasteurization.
Some people do not enjoy eating these grapes fresh, because they have a
very tart skin, but I love them. I find the texture of the grape inside
to be something like muscadine, but more bursting in flavor (and
smaller, too). If I start eating a bunch, I can't stop.
I don't worry too much, because Concord grapes are high in nutrition and
low in calories. They are high in polyphenol, an antioxidant. They
contain vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. One cup of concord grapes, according to online sources,
contains 62 calories. As they are a good natural source of oxalates,
these sources warn that people prone to kidney stones should watch
intake of Concord grapes. (Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.)
Since the initial grapes, a seedless variety (smaller than the original)
has been developed, but both varieties were for sale yesterday at a local farm stand.
In fact, I love fresh Concord grapes so much I never get around to making grape pie. I'm not that good of a pie baker, anyway.
Oh yes, the grape pie of my title.
If you really want to eat pie, go to the Naples, New York grape festival the weekend of September 26-27 in Naples, New York. If you can't make it to Naples, or other local farm stands, you may want to try this recipe.
Or, even better, go to the Cayuga Lake Creamery in Interlaken, New York, for their Grape Ice Cream.
Does your area of the world have a favorite pie?
This is my day 13 post for the #Septemberchallenge, hosted by Everyday Gyaan.