Concord grapes are more American than the iconic apple pie. Grape soda, Welch’s juice, and the J in PB&J – all Concord. It’s a flavor that has come to define ‘grape flavor’ here in the United States. We know it and love it – or do we?
Eating Concords off the vine is an eye-opening experience. The fruit has all ‘grape-y’ intensity you would expect but without the cloying sugariness that comes with most manufactured grape products. It’s perfect as is. Which makes it the ideal subject for sorbet. The key is to keep it simple and let the fruit shine.
A good deal of the flavor (and lovely color) comes from the skins of the grapes. The trick is extracting all that goodness without over-working the delicate fruit. Just gently warming up the grapes with a bit of water will help loosen them up. Err on the side of caution and use very low heat, you do not want to ‘cook’ the grapes!
All that’s left to do is to press the mush through a strainer. The result will be a gorgeous deep purple juice that you whisk into a bit of sorbet syrup for texture. SImple. The hardest part will be sourcing the grapes. Concords are only available for only a few weeks in autumn.
A gorgeous deep purple sorbet made with Concords – the grapiest of grapes. Only available for a brief time in the autumn, the king of American table grapes only needs minimal preparation to become a vibrant sorbet. The sweet/musky grapiness practically bursts off the spoon with every bite!
6g tapioca starch
48g organic corn syrup
907g (2 lbs) ripe concord grapes
1–2 TBS water
600g (2 cups) fresh Concord juice
395g (1 1/2 cups) sorbet syrup
15g (2 TBS) lime or lemon juice
MAKE SORBET SYRUP
Combine water with the sugar, tapioca starch, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.
Stir continuously for about 8-11 minutes until the mixture just starts to boil (do not allow it to come to a full boil) Once the texture of the sugar syrup becomes thicker and viscous immediately take it off the heat. Cool to room temperature before using. Syrup can be made in advance and stored in the refridgerator for 1-2 days.
Place the grapes and water in a saucepan over low heat. Gently – very gently – warm up the grapes until they are easily mashed with the back of a spoon. Overheating the grapes will make them taste ‘cooked’ – better to err on the side of under-warming them.
Dump the whole mess into a strainer placed over a bowl. Keep pressing and pressing and pressing some more until all the juice is extracted. You’ll know it’s done when the grape solids look very dry and stick together.
Thoroughly mix 600g (2 cups) Concord grape juice with sorbet syrup, and lime (or lemon) juice.
Process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The sorbet is finished when it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes in most machines)