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Spring, summer bring best grapes

All varieties of table grapes — green, red or black — are delicious, especially when they're fresh.

And, as many shoppers are discovering, now is the time of year to find the freshest grapes.

During the long winter and early spring months, many table grapes spend weeks in cold storage before they arrive in stores.

During the sunny months, fresh grapes from new harvests in the Mexican state of Sonora start popping up in grocery stores.

Sonora provides almost 60 percent of the fresh table grapes sold in the United States from May to July.

The quality of these fresh grapes is notably higher than that of storage grapes-they're sweet and juicy, with lots of crunch.

The freshest ones have brightly colored skin, a crisp texture and a full flavor.

They're tasty either as a snack or an in-gredient.

So sample the latest Sonoran harvest with these Mexican-inspired recipes.

Chipotle-Grape Sauce

3 cups orange-pineapple juice

½ cup white wine vinegar

4 cups red grapes

such as Flame Seedless

or Red Globe

or the black Fantasy,

seeded if necessary

3 tablespoons canned

chipotle peppers or to taste

2 tablespoons cumin

Juice of one lime

Salt to taste

Process juice, vinegar, grapes and peppers in a blender until smooth.

Heat and stir cumin in a medium sauce-pan until fragrant; add grape puree, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime and salt. Makes about 3 cups.

This sweet and spicy sauce complements grilled chicken or pork.

Green Grape Margarita

3 dozen green seedless grapes

such as Perlette, Sugraone

or Thompson, divided

1 lime, quartered


¾ cup tequila

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place 2 dozen grapes in a single layer in a shallow pan, and freeze at least 30 minutes.

Squeeze lime quarters over the rims of 4 glasses. Dip rim into a bowl of salt. Drop a lime quarter and 6 frozen grapes in each glass.

Combine tequila, liqueur and lime juice in a shaker with ice; strain into glasses.

Garnish with toothpicks, each speared with 3 grapes. Makes 4.

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