When preserving any type of fruit or vegetable, it is very important to choose high quality produce. The fruit we’re focusing on in this article is grapes. You have an abundance of grapes and have canned grape juice, made grape jelly, tried your hand at making raisins and still have an abundance of grapes on hand. Freezing them is definitely an option and it’s a fairly simple procedure.
Start by choosing grapes that are plump, well formed and firmly attached to the stems. Fully ripe grapes will be soft and tender. Discard any grapes showing signs of decay, shriveling, stickiness or dry brittle stems. Remember, grapes that are wet or appear moldy indicate decay and should never be used to preserve in any fashion.
Some fruits will continue to ripen or improve after picking. This is not so with grapes. You should pick them at their peak quality and sweetness. In appearance, green grapes are at their best when their color is yellow-green; red grapes are best when they are predominantly red, and blue-black varieties will be full and rich in color.
Wash your grape clusters under a gentle spray of water, then drain and pat them as dry as possible. You can use seedless grapes whole, but seeded grapes should be sliced lengthwise and the seeds removed using a pointed object such as the tip of a knife.
To freeze whole seedless grapes, simply sort through for the best quality grapes, remove the stems and wash the grapes. To freeze them unsweetened, pack the grapes into a freezer bag, leaving 1/2″ headspace, seal, label, and freeze.
To freeze grapes in syrup, mix 1 cup water to 2/3 cups sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Pack the grapes into the baggie and cover with cold syrup, again leaving 1/2″ of headspace. Seal, label, and freeze.
If you’d like to freeze your seedless grapes loosely, place the grapes in a layer on a cookie sheet, sides not touching. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer, then bag, label, and seal the grapes after they are frozen solid.
Below are some suggestions for using frozen grapes:
Hint: If you want to peel your frozen grapes, peel them before they thaw by rinsing them in lukewarm water until the skins split and slip off easily.
Sorbet-like Grape Pops – just pop a frozen grape into your mouth and enjoy the flavor of the grape while savoring the texture and feel of sorbet.
Sweet Grape Treats: This idea makes a delicious treat in the hot summertime. Wash your grapes and roll them in white sugar while they are still wet. Insert a toothpick into each grape and freeze individually, sides not touching, on a cookie sheet. Serve them while frozen. Optionally, you can leave off the toothpick and drop a grape into a glass of champagne or white wine as a tasty cooler.
Green Grape Cooler:
12 seedless grapes
4 ounces cold water
4 ounces white grape juice
-Freeze grapes individually on cookie sheet, sides not touching.
-Using a blender, combine 10 frozen grapes with the white grape juice until smooth and thick. (about 20 seconds)
-Pour the grape mixture into a tall chilled glass.
-Add the cold water.
-Use the 2 remaining frozen grapes as garnish.