Take a Grape Escape

It’s peak season and whether you enjoy them by the bunch or sliced into your favorite dish, table grapes are deliciously juicy and perfect in the summer heat.

If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the summer, you know what “oven-hot” feels like. I remember summers there would render us desperate to escape the afternoon heat. Brilliantly, my sister came up with the idea of a daily “Grape Escape.” Simply wash, dry and freeze grapes. During the hot afternoon, indulge yourself in the grape escape. Eat them, hold them to your temples, roll one or two over the back of your neck, or as my young niece tried to do, stuff one in your belly button for an immediate cooling effect! When you hit the bottom of the batch, be prepared to get grape-greedy.Grapes are among the oldest cultivated fruit — possibly cultivated in Asia as far back as 5,000 B.C. Even ancient hieroglyphics depict Egyptians involved in grape production and wine making. These days, grapes are grown all over the world. Although California has been producing grapes for over 300 years, growing more than 50 varieties, Italy takes the number-one spot for production of table grapes.

Depending on their use, grapes are classified as either wine grapes, which are small, sweet and ornamental looking, or table grapes, the varieties most of us are familiar with. Within these two classifications, there are numerous varieties. My personal favorite is the Concord grape, a sweet, astringent deep purple grape commonly used to make grape juice.Fresh grapes should be dry and firm, no soft spots or molding. Be sure to wash well before eating. Enjoy cold or room temperature for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. Remember to freeze them for your own grape escape, or gratify your grape needs with these fresh ideas:

Do you grapple in grapes? Got a favorite grape escape? Let me know!

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