Monmouth County NJ Recipes Concord Grape Pie
Sep 21, 2018

Let’s Talk About Grapes

By MaryAnn Miano

Monmouth County NJ Recipes Concord Grape Pie

The little unassuming grape packs a powerhouse of nutrition and fiber, with some health benefits. Grapes come in different colors such as red, green, and purple, and different forms such as seedless, grape jelly and jam, grape juice, raisins, currants and sultanas – and let’s not forget wine!

These wonderful fruits have been associated with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, eye problems, and even constipation.

Grapes contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. The flavonoid quercetin, another anti-inflammatory in grapes, has been shown to prevent or slow cancer growth. Grapes also boost heart health and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, lowering lipids and protecting against the damage caused by LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.

Grapes’ high potassium counters high sodium in the diet, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of stroke, along with protection against loss of muscle mass and bone mineral density.

Diabetics should note that studies have shown a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes in people who consumed certain fruits, including grapes. The American Diabetes Association encourages diabetics to consume grapes as long as the carbohydrate amount is counted as part of their meal plan. Studies have also shown that the effect of the compound resveratrol in grapes may protect against diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy, both side effects of the disease.

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin contained in grapes can help maintain eye health by neutralizing unstable molecules known as free radicals. This reduces oxidative stress and damage to the retina, helping to prevent cataracts as well. The resveratrol may protect against age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Eat grapes in good health, but don’t overdo it – they contain sugar and also can lead to stomach distress. Try these delicious, fun recipes to help boost your consumption of grapes:

Concord Grape Pie

Deep purple Concord grapes are available in September and October.

INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS

1 single pie pastry crust (homemade or frozen)

1½ pounds Concord grapes (4 cups)

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For crumb topping:

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter

Prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Trim and crimp edge as desired; set aside.

Remove skins from grapes by gently pressing each grape between your fingers (skins will slip off easily). Set skins aside. In a large saucepan, bring grape pulp to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Sieve the pulp to remove the seeds. Add the reserved grape skins to the pulp.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ¾ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt. Stir in the grape mixture, melted butter, and lemon juice. Pour into the pastry-lined pie plate.

To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the ½ cup flour and ½ cup sugar. Cut in the ¼ cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove foil from pie. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Bake about 25 minutes more or until topping is golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

Braised Sausages with Green Grapes, Wine, and Bay Leaves

INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, with fennel seeds

4 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

2 small rosemary sprigs

Small palm-ful of fennel seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup dry white wine

Large bunch of seedless green grapes, stemmed (about 1½ cups grapes)

Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Pierce sausages in a few places with a thin knife to prevent them from bursting. Add sausages and garlic to the skillet; brown sausages on all sides. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Add bay leaves, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper; sauté for 1 or 2 minutes longer so the flavors can be released. Add wine, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until sausages are tender, 4 or 5 minutes.

Uncover the skillet and add grapes. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes until grapes are soft and warm but not bursting. There should be some liquid in the skillet.

Put sausages on a warmed large serving platter. Pour the grapes and skillet juices over the top; garnish with the parsley. Serve hot.