i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… one of my very favorite things about moving around all of the time is trying new foods, dishes, and cuisines local to each new location.
now that we live up here in the “north country” of new york, we are so close to the great lakes region, and parts of the US and canada that i’ve not known before. this new chapter of home has given me the opportunity to discover wild blueberries, cheese curds, and more.
i had never before had a concord grape! of course over the years i’ve had welch’s grape juice, which is made with concord grapes, as a childhood drink and in countless communion offerings. i’d never, however, eaten a concord grape nor known much about them.
in september at blog brûlée, we were thrilled and excited to have welch’s alongside us, sponsoring the event and helping make it happen. it was there that casey lewis, a fellow RD and welch’s nutrition expert, shared all about that very cool grape.
concord grapes were cultivated 165 years ago in concord, massachusetts, as a variety of grape that could withstand cold climates. the original vine cultivated is still growing in concord. those grapes have made their way around these parts quite a bit since, with many grown southwest of me around the finger lakes region, and also many orchards in canada too!
on a recent trip to kingston, ontario, we picked up a quart of those lovely grapes. the thing that shocked me most about them is their aroma. you know that grape gum, hubba bubba smell…? that is the natural scent of a concord grape. i walked past them several times in my kitchen, getting a whiff, and being taken back to my childhood softball days when we’d get a big pack of grape gum after the games.
after blog brûlée, i listened to the meal makeover moms’ very awesome podcast recapping the weekend. in their podcast they also talked about their love for chia seeds and concord grapes. after my success using chia in this pluot-lime jam, i couldn’t help but think of those moms when i saw the grapes in kingston.
a combination of those grape-y concord grapes, a tiny bit of sweetener and some ground chia seeds resulted in the most flavorful, most aromatic, and easiest jelly recipe i’ve ever made! blending the skins until they’re smooth also means this jelly is full of polyphenols, anti-oxidants and other health benefits.
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 quart concord grapes
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Finely grind chia seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder.
- Separate each grape from its skin by squeezing gently to pop out pulp from skin. Be sure to squeeze grapes over a medium-size saucepan, catching dripping juices. Place pulp in saucepan and skins in the container of a blender.
- Add maple syrup and vanilla to blender container; pulse skins mixture until as smooth as possible. Set aside.
- Heat pulps (with seeds) in saucepan until just simmering. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until pulp has released its juices and seeds. Pour mixture into a fine seive, catching juices underneath with a medium bowl. Press pulp with a spatula to strain through as much pulp as possible, leaving mostly only seeds behind. Discard seeds.
- Add pulp mixture to blender; pulse to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in finely ground chia seeds. Allow mixture to cool and thicken. Store in the fridge.