The blue-black fruits of the Concord grapevines (Vitis labrusca 'Concord') are mostly used for juices, jellies, jams and wine. While the foxy flavor is an acquired taste, eating seeded grapes is like any other seeded fruit. Cut the fruit open and take out the seeds or pop the whole grape in your mouth and spit out the seeds and/or skin before swallowing the flesh. The Concord cultivar, considered the oldest and best native North American grape, was developed from the wild grapes growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.
About Concord Grapes
Concord grapes, named after the city of Concord in Massachusetts, were developed by Ephraim Wales Bull. He planted about 22,000 grape seedlings before he found success in 1849 with his hardy Concord grape cultivar. He presented Concord grapes in 1853 at the Boston Historical Society Exhibition, where he won a prize. As the popularity of the seeded Concord grape increased, the Concord Seedless was eventually developed to satisfy the demand for seedless grapes.
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Eating Grapes With Seeds
Concord grapes are plump, juicy and sweet with musky overtones. The deep blue-purple, almost black skins are "slip-skin," which means the skin slides off the translucent green flesh. If you're asking yourself, "Is it OK to eat the seeds in grapes?" the answer is yes. While you can eat the skins, seeds and flesh, many people prefer to remove the skin and seeds.
To eat Concord grapes from a bowl, cut the grapes in half and pick out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Squeeze the skin to slip the interior of the grape into the bowl. If you prefer to eat Concord grapes one at a time, simply bite it in half and roll the grape in your mouth to remove the seeds as well as the skin. Keep a napkin handy to politely dispose of the seeds and skins.
Concord Seedless grapes don't have large seeds like the original Concord cultivar, but they may have small, undetectable traces of seeds. Enjoy them in pies, desserts and yogurt and with cheeses, pork, chicken and duck.
Preserving the Grapes
Make your own Concord grape juice by removing the stems, washing the grapes and then putting them into a pot. Crush the fruit and add boiling water to cover the pulp. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes until the skin is soft. Strain and refrigerate the juice for 24 to 48 hours and then strain again before heating and adding sugar to taste. When the juice begins to boil, pour it into sterilized fruit jars and process in a hot water bath for five to 15 minutes depending on the altitude.
You can also freeze your homemade grape juice or use the grape juice to make jelly. To make jelly, measure 5 cups of grape juice into a large pot. Add one package of powdered pectin and bring it to a boil before adding 7 cups of sugar. Bring it back to a boil for one full minute and then pour it into jelly jars and process in a hot water bath.
Concord grapes are easily frozen whole. Wash them in cold water and remove the stems. Spread the grapes in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then, put the frozen grapes into freezer containers to enjoy for up to a year.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Vitis labrusca 'Concord'
- Specialty Produce: Concord Seedless Grapes
- Utah State University Extension: Preserve the Harvest: Grapes
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit - Grape Juice
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Making Jams and Jellies - Grape Jelly