This is a weird time of year. It is not quite fall and it is not summer either. The sun is at a strange angle and the shadows and lighting make it seem like fall and yet the afternoons are warm. I cannot figure out what I am wearing each day as I stare into the closet lusting after plum and charcoal sweaters while shunning my summertime favorites of turquoise and fuchsia. The only time I am pretty sure what season it is, is when I am at the farmer’s market or grocery store.

I can smell the Concord grapes as soon as I hit the produce section. The sweet, light perfume rising off of them immediately grounds me. I cannot resist buying the gorgeous purple orbs and want my entire home to smell like the seedy grapes.

I love cooking Concord grapes down into a sauce for duck. Duck and fall grapes are a match made in culinary heaven. I also love to make this simple fall drink. The flavor of fresh Concord grapes will remind you of childhood-but like the season’s ambiguity you also will feel very grown up while appreciating the fresh flavor and gorgeous color. Scoop up the Concord grapes while you can-their season is short. Concord grapes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Concord Grape Sparkler

4 cups fresh Concord grapes

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

Juice of one lemon

Soda water

  1. Place the grapes, water, sugar and lemon juice on a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Simmer the mixture for 3 minutes-do not boil or the mixture will begin to turn to jelly. Let the mixture steep for 20 minutes to extract all the flavor from the grapes.
  2. Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve; be sure to press on the solids to get all the liquid. Cool completely.

Pour the grape juice over ice and top off with soda water or dry sparkling wine (I like Prosecco).

Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here.
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