Tag Archives: Concord grapes

Concord Grapes

They are so perishable, I can never have one unless I’m Home. I get my husband Moon Drop grapes during the two-week season and steal one or two from the stash.

They’re tasty but not what I used to pick off the vine (it was allowed). Sometimes white grape juice will bring me back to childhood but I can’t find it. Sorry, I have never been a lover of PB&J. Yes, we’re talking Welch’s country before they let folks go and changed their HQ.

My heart aches for our old home and fields, trails, creeks and Concord grapes, strawberries and blueberries and cherries. I have photos I call “the greens” and I took most of the photos. They have different colored green mattes and frames I designed but they include a robust, very old Concord grape vine grown by a family friend. Don’t eat the seeds! Dee


Yes, Virginia, There Is a Concord Grape

It probably will not be out until late September/early October, depending upon the weather. They can be eaten and my first and most popular blog is “How To Eat a Concord Grape.” Just follow the instructions from a hobby farm gal surrounded by Concord vineyards and dairy farms.

You must eat it fresh, else you’ll end up with Welch’s jam and juice. I don’t live there anymore, but if you can’t get to western NY the Welch’s white grape juice is the closest thing I  can get.

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Husbands. Mine sharpened a favorite knife of mine, a 4″ paring knife he uses to shave off slices of what kind of apple he likes that day. I was cutting two jalapeno peppers for chimichurri sauce for grilled skirt steak and sliced my thumb, deeply. He has been threatening to re-bandage me for a few days. The thumb opened up two days ago and I needed more time.

This afternoon it looked really good and he re-bandaged it, I washed my hands, placed hydrogen peroxide on the cut, let it dry, added Bacitracin, and he put on a nearly invisible NexCare bandage. I’m good to go.

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Today would be Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary. They’re both in a better place now and hopefully have had some time to chat, in heaven.

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Jewelry. I made my mother commit to letting me pierce my ears on my 16th birthday. She did. They were infected for two years. For the past ten I’ve only been able to wear 18K gold tiny hoops and they gave me trouble. I took them out for good a couple of years ago.

On my left arm I wear my 18K wedding ring (no engagement ring per my request), a copper hand-made bracelet from the farmers’ market and a magnetized “golf bracelet” that helps with my arthritis.

On my right, I’ve a silver Claddagh ring on my ring finger, an Italian red/white/green bracelet, a stronger golf bracelet which keeps arthritis at bay, and a Turkish “evil eye” bracelet to keep me safe, from Islamabad, a gift from Dad.

Other than really cool eyeglasses a la Edith Head/Edna Mode every day I wear a black, wooden guitar pick on a leather chain, with the Celtic, never-ending knot engraved inside it, in memory of Dad. Sometimes I add another handmade piece but the wood one is always with me. Dad was very talented, as a musician and director of many artistic endeavors.

Oh, I do have my great-aunt’s pearls from her wedding in the 1940’s. I wore them to mine. They’re not really appropriate for taking out the dog. Cheers! Dee

Learning and Teaching

I’m getting older, but still like to learn something new every day, or every week.

Now I find myself teaching rather than learning and would love to keep doing both.

My father is older and he has always taught me. Perhaps I’ve taught him a few things over the years as well. My husband and I teach each other, and so do our families.

At my age, soon to change another year, I embrace teaching as well as learning. One learns wisdom, hopefully along with knowledge, throughout the years. I always think of myself as a young thirties thirsty for knowledge acolyte.

It is funny that I’ve always been a teacher, but never a real teacher. My aunts, professional English teachers, would be proud. They had a dictionary on top of the commode in the powder room (guest bath) and when I returned I had to have a word I’d never known, spelling, noun or verb and use it in a sentence.

Twice their age when they were teaching me, I’m teaching others. I’ve been doing so for decades, from kids learning gymnastics from me when I was 16 until now. I just didn’t recognize how much I had learned that I could offer others.

Retired, I only give guidance to those who appreciate and use it to their own ends. All volunteer, of course. I still love learning and will until my dying day. Cheers! Dee

Concord Grapes and Lemongrass

As y’all read my piece on Concord grapes regularly this time of year, I tried it out today. My only aunt is in surgery at the moment but while I anxiously await word, several years ago she took me, my husband and his parents to a Concord grape vineyard to see the amazing mechanical harvester that uses grape-friendly beaters.

I took a photo of the Concord rootstock and framed and hung it last month. It is my childhood. I framed three, I call the Greens. One of a lumber mill in Vermont that had a workbench like my grandfather made and is in my aunt’s garage. Another of Concord rootstock, that gnarly wood that makes these grapes impermeable to weather. The last and brightest is of a tributary to Canadaway Creek, says dear Ruthie, a neighbor decades ago and we’ve recently been in touch.

While I await the news I know my husband has a company dinner tonight and I’m on my own so went for a late afternoon lunch across the street. What did I see? A great jar filled with vodka, lemongrass and halved Concord grapes! They poured me a teaspoon to taste but it was just put up yesterday so it was harsh. Three weeks from now, whatever cocktail Nick comes up with will be great.

Concord grapes are local and don’t ship well. I miss them so much. He gave me ten of them in a bowl and I taught the staff How to Eat a Concord Grape, my most sought-after post here. Heaven.

Thank you Nick, Thanks Eatery, and pulverize that lemongrass next time! Love all y’all,


Concord Grapiness

They’re finding us.  The rich folks at Wall Street Journal are laughing at us too, and don’t know my way of eating a concord grape.

This month alone, Saveur has a recipe for Concord Grape Soda.


and here’s what the WSJ has to say, courtesy of Writing By Ear.  Thanks, kiddo!  Dee

Chautauqua County

When you visit, as I had a number of visitors today asking about Concord grapes, please visit the farm stands and look at what else is fresh that you can cook today or take home.

Some of my best childhood memories are there, at a creek, a farm market, a local dairy or picking grapes, blueberries and strawberries.

Dinners with family, extended family holidays, and always hanging out with the neighbors were always welcome and exciting.  I think that’s why I wanted to learn how to cook, to please and always have a sense of family around me.

The enchanted forest and the road to the dump, the guy who came and took away our large furniture, only for Dad to find it all at his home.  Our neighbors with countless stray animals and a dog that came to us for a week at a time.

The horse that threw me, brownies and girl scouts, halloween in the populated part of town (couldn’t eat anything until my parents, the next day, went through everything).  Trick or Treat for UNICEF one year.  No-one bought into it with quarters.  I think I stuffed the box with some of my baby-sitting money).

Later on I worked summers in college and also worked on a couple of political campaigns.  I have family there.  My heart is there for the people I grew up with, but I don’t think our lives will go there unless it’s for retirement.

It is a place I have such ties to, and love to visit and encourage others to do so. Cheers, Dee

Self-Interview, Concord Grape

Me Interviewer (Interviewer) or Me

Interviewer: So how did you get to know Concord grapes?

Me: I lived, from age 8-10 next to a vineyard a local farmer/dairyman lived.

Interviewer: What did you think of them?

Me: the most amazing taste.  Fresh off the vine.

Interviewer: Were you legally picking from that vine?

Me: Yes, we were told we could eat all we wanted but that if we were ever caught having a “grape fight” with each other (my sister) or our two boy neighbors that tasting would be forbidden.  We solemnly adhered to that rule.

Interviewer: Why can’t fresh Concord grapes be shipped long distances?

Me: I don’t know but think it has to do with freshness and the pristine nature of the grapes when picked at their prime stage of readiness, plus they must not ship well

Interviewer: People in grape-growing counties love their grapes and use them in all kinds of recipes.  How did the Concord grapes get preserved for people across the country?

Me: Try Welch’s grape juice or Manischewitz kosher wine.  I now hear that Concord grapes come frozen, but getting them out of their leathery skins and removing the seeds must just make it a pulp.  I’ve never been able to find it and would look.

Interviewer: Why would you look?

Me: Because if I can’t be back where I lived as a child, I’d like to taste the next best thing and remember those days at the creek where I was allowed to be a tomboy.

Thank you for your time and interesting commentary. Cheers, Dee


I have hits today with some specific questions that I’d like to answer.

Can you eat the skin of a Concord grape?  Sure.  I would rinse them well first and ascertain whether they’re organic or full of pesticides.  The ones I ate as a kid were full of pesticides and, not knowing any better, I plopped them in my mouth and spat out the skin and then the seeds as I was taught by the local kids.

When can you eat a Concord grape?  Preferably fresh at the end of the growing season in October before the first frost.  After the eating grapes are gone the rest all go into juice, and grape jelly.  Some friends from Concord grape territory mash the grapes and freeze them for pies et al.

For me, they’re best right off the vine in a vineyard you’re legally picking from.

Hope this helps!  Dee

Thank you, dear reader

I find it interesting that the most read posts are about concord grapes, and capons.  There’s no telling what you will like and what I know to write about.  Thank you for reading and joining my journey through my culinary travails.  I do hope that my successes and failures help you, and that you’ll feel free to correct me when I’m wrong.  Please check the new sections up top for pantry items and cookbooks, as these are how this blog was started.  Cheers, Dee

Cool Music

I took up acoustic folk guitar last year because I knew it would be a long winter and no-one was around and music had always interested me from violin to piano to dance. Both my instructors were more comfortable teaching grade school students but found raw talent even if it came with an adult mind and body.

My first private instructor taught me basic chords mainly via childrens’ songs, Johnny Cash and others. My second was a rock & roll drummer and we were all over the place. For both, I brought in songs I wanted to learn, just to be able to strum with family and have a sing-along. I don’t think any song I chose to learn was written after the 70’s.

Then one day I was driving home from errands, turned on the radio and “Hey There, Delilah” was playing. I loved the tune. A few weeks later I was able to download the lyrics and vowed to figure out the chords for a beginner guitarist. I do that. But the best thing was being able to tell my teacher that I finally found a song from this decade, this century, that I want to learn to play!

Quit guitar for a while but bought a nice one and keep it in shape and hydrated. My husband told me weeks ago about a work function we have to attend and I kept it in the back of my mind, but tonight he told me it’s a concert. Plain White Tees! I jumped up and down (ask him!) and told him this story. I hear Delilah in my head but have to put it to paper before Friday and the private company concert. I’m going to do it without listening to it and make it work for beginner guitar. That’s my challenge. Aside from heating up my butternut squash and carrot soup, making sharp mac & cheese and a green salad, all I have to do is wash the dog and 12 other things. I’m best under the gun (figuratively, of course).

I hope you’re doing what you want in your life. It’s probably cooking. These days you may be one of the few to eat Concord grapes freshly picked. I ache for those days when I had them fresh off the vine. I need to find the site where they’re freezing the pulp and winnowing out the seeds. If I could get frozen Concord grape pulp, I’d learn how to make a great pie and use it for savory dishes as well. Cheers, Dee