In Season West Coast: Grapes

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Thanks to the common grocery store mantra of "all produce all the time" it doesn't seem like a fruit like grapes even have a season. And yet, they do. It ranges from July to December. I've noticed farmers' markets here in LA are bursting with grapes, and not just the obvious pale green supermarket variety. Rather they come in a multitude of jewel tones. Green blushed with a hint of pink, red, crimson, deep, dark purple, almost to a licorice black.Most of the grapes consumed in the United States come from California, where they have thrived since European travlers planted them in the 17th century. In fact grapes have grown in the wild since prehistoric times, although there were cultivated in Asia as far back as 5000 BC.

This weekend pick up some of these interesting varieties. Although they are great for snacking (I love them frozen, especially the petite champagne grapes) or in salads, grapes are also fantasic to cook with. They add a bright freshness to roasted meats, or balance out rich dishes made with cream, creme fraiche or blue cheese. A mixture of grapes piled on and draped over the edge of a cake stand would also be a beautiful fall centerpiece that even Martha would approve of.

For more information about grapes, check out this webiste.

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