Plant Based 411
When Life Hands You Grapes
By Nancy Eisman
Actually, this is about what you do when Melissa’s Produce hands you grapes, and numerous varieties of them. Of course they’re all fantastic fresh, sweet and juicy eaten right off the stem. Another way to make the season last is to put a clamshell or two in your freezer and grab some of these sorbet-like orbs for a refreshing, cold, surprisingly delicious snack.
If your favorite supermarket carries Melissa’s assortment of seasonal grapes hopefully you’ve seen some of these varieties: Candy Sweets®, Champagne, Christmas Crunch®, Cotton Candy®, Pink Muscatel, Pristine, Red Candy Sweets, Sweet Surrender, and Sweet Celebration. There are various colors of Muscato, Organic, and other seedless grapes available too, so you have multitudes of grape varieties to choose from.
A variety not mentioned above is the star of two, count ‘em two, easy recipes that make me very happy. I use Melissa’s Jelly Drops®, a seedless variety with classic grape jelly flavor. Easy Grape Jelly Drops® Jam is tasty and simple, and Peanut Butter & Jelly Drops® Refrigerator Pie will delight anyone who loves a good ‘ol PB&J. Get your taste buds ready for some great grape goodness.
The jam recipe is pretty straightforward: Jelly Drops, an apple, a lime, and sugar. This is refrigerator jam, so no jar sterilizing, water bathing, or lid popping is involved. The PB&J pie is a creamy peanut butter, tofu, sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract filling over a graham cracker base, topped with pan-seared grapes, refrigerated for several hours for perfect consistency.
Depending on how many grapes you’ve been handed, and/or your love for nostalgic Welch’s flavor on sliced bread, with or without peanut butter, make one or both of these recipes. You’ll be grapeful that you did!
Jelly Drops Grape Refrigerator Jam
3 clam shells (1 pound each) Melissa’s Jelly Drops®, de-stemmed
1 Apple, peel-on and including seeds, diced
2 Limes, juice of both, zest of one
1½ cups Sugar
2 tablespoons Powdered Pectin
Add the grapes, apple, lime juice, lime zest, and sugar to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.
Mix in the pectin and a couple pinches of salt, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Place a candy thermometer in the pot and continue boiling until the reading is at 220 degrees, about 35 minutes.
Turn off the heat, cool to room temperature, and then ladle into jars for refrigeration.
(Recipe adapted from Food & Wine magazine via
PB & Jelly Drops Pie
10 oz. package Silken Tofu (Firm)
6 oz. Melissa’s Organic Tofu (Firm)
16 oz. Creamy Peanut Butter
⅔ cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 clam shell Melissa’s Jelly Drops®, de-stemmed
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of Kosher Salt
Put the piecrust aside.
Put the other 7 ingredients in a food processor/blender and process until creamy smooth. Pour the mixture into the piecrust, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours; overnight is best.
Place a sauté pan on the stove and turn the heat to high.
Put the grapes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and sugar, and toss to combine. Add the grapes to the hot pan, pan-roast, and stir until grapes begin to sear.
Turn off the heat and set aside to cool. Refrigerate if waiting for the filling to firm up.
When filling is firm, add the cooled roasted grapes to the top, refrigerate for 1 additional hour, and serve.
(Recipe adapted from The Compassionate Cook via About.com.)