You know autumn has arrived in New England when boxes of tangy-sweet Concord grapes start showing up at local markets and farm stands. In fact, these dusky-purple orbs are so fragrant, you can smell them before you see them. Their growing season is brief, so enjoy them now, either straight from the vine or in a recipe. And don’t limit yourself to jam or jelly; Concord grapes make fabulous savory sauces and desserts.
To make fresh juice, for example, just whirl whole grapes in your blender (seeds, skins, and all) and pour the mixture through a strainer. Voila — a gorgeous, violet juice that tastes so sweet, it needs no added sugar. For cooking, just slip off the tart skins and press the pulp through a sieve. Then use the pulp as is, or add the skins back in for flavor and texture. And here’s the bonus: Aside from their tantalizing taste, Concord grapes brim with flavonoids, resveratrol, and other antioxidants, so they may help fight cardiovascular disease and some cancers.