How to make the most of past-their-best grapes – recipe

·2 min read

If your grapes are looking tired and a little wrinkly, don’t chuck them – they can be saved! If I haven’t got through my weekend bunch of grapes by the end of the week, I’ll usually incorporate them into a meal: they’re delicious chopped raw into salads, and work well cooked in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Try baking them into a traybake such as Claire Ptak’s American-style grape slab pie or Nigel Slater’s black grape focaccia, or bake them whole on the vine to use in all sorts of dishes. Roast grapes have an intense, sweet-and-sour flavour, and make a great granita (freeze, then pulse blend), or serve them alongside cheese or with baked ricotta.

Store raw grapes in an open container in the coldest part of the fridge (ie most likely the crisper drawer) or wash and freeze them whole – they’re surprisingly lovely eaten cold just as they are; otherwise, use as ice cubes or in baking. Grapes also make a delicious lacto-fermented soda: simply steep them in twice the amount of water, seasoned to taste with a touch of sugar and a pinch of salt, for a few days, until the mix begins to bubble, then strain or, for a thicker texture, blend and refrigerate.

Roast grapes on the vine

Roast grapes are a surprising treat that can transform even a rather tired bunch into a delicacy worthy of the finest dinner party. (If you don’t fancy powering up the oven, they’re also delicious fried or grilled, though they won’t have quite the same intensity of a slow roast.) Store in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze to use as needed. I love them tossed through roast veg, blended into smoothies or served with baked ricotta.

1 bunch grapes on the vine

To serve (optional)
Baked ricotta
Grated lemon zest
Extra-virgin olive oil

Put the grapes on a baking tray and roast in a 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 oven for 50-60 minutes, until the grapes have started to shrivel and caramelise but still have some body (save energy and make best use of the oven by roasting vegetables or cooking your evening meal alongside the grapes).

Serve as part of a cheeseboard or with a ricotta that’s been baked alongside them. To finish, dress with optional lemon zest, olive oil and honey.

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