Concord grapes are best known for their dark blue or purple color and their strong sweet aroma. They are used most often for juice, jelly, and fresh eating. The grape is sometimes used to make wine, but the result is typically a very sweet wine.
There are both seeded and seedless varieties of Concord grapes, however, our Minnesota climate makes it nearly impossible to grow the seedless variety with success, so we choose to grow the seeded variety. Concord grapes are a “slip-skin” variety, which means the skin is easily slipped from the fruit. Regardless of how you choose to eat these grapes, their “grapey” flavor will be a most wonderful treat to your taste buds!
TIPS FOR PICKING & STORAGE:
- Grapes will not continue ripening after being picked from the vines, so be sure to taste a few before you pick a whole box to make sure the flavor is to your liking.
- The sweetness of Concord grapes changes throughout the season. When you should come out to pick them depends greatly on what you will be using them for. If you are planning to make jellies, wine or pies that will have sugar added, once the season begins, anytime is good. However, if you are hoping to make juice to drink that you do not wish to add sugar to, you will want to wait until later in the season. A drier growing season, as well as a very light frost will also heighten the sweetness of the grape.
- Grapes can be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
FUN FACTS ABOUT CONCORD GRAPES:
- Concord grapes are fat free and cholesterol free, have low sodium, and are a very good source of manganese.
- Concord grapes contain high levels of antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent chronic diseases.
- If you have a sweet tooth, try a handful of Concord grapes. Just 1/2 cup of grapes contains only 30 calories, 0 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar!
- Spanish explorers introduced Concord grapes to America 300 years ago.
- Grapes are actually a type of berry! There leathery covering and fleshy inside makes them similar to blueberries.
- It takes about 2.5 lbs of grapes to make one bottle of wine.