The Top 21 Ways to Use GRAPES from CALIFORNIA

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1.  BAKE — Grapes act like any other berry–which is what they are–in baking applications, including tarts, cakes, breads, and pizzas (or focaccia, too).  Baked Brie en croute with grapes is a classic for buffets.

2.  BLEND — Toss them–skins and all–into a blender to create smoothies, cocktails, and other tasty drinks.

3.  BLISTER — High heat is the trick (try grape seed oil for this).  Cook just until the skins are taut.

4.  BROIL — Try grapes wrapped in prosciutto for a riff on Angels on Horseback.  Great for tapas.

5.  CLIP — The best way to present grapes on a fruit platter or as a plate garnish is to clip them into smaller clusters.  Grapes provide coverage, color, dimension and simply great taste.

6.  CUP — Fill mini pie crusts with a little lemon-infused cream cheese and top with champagne grapes.  Divine!

7.  DECORATE — With three vibrant colors to work with, grapes are a caterer’s dream.  So go ahead drape, nestle, be-ribbon–your imagination is the limit.

8.  DIP — Rich chocolate–dark, milk, white–and grapes make a delightful pairing.

9.  DRESS — Grapes blend particularly well with salad dressing of all types, offering their own juicy flavors of sweet and tart to the mix.

10.  FREEZE — Freeze grapes in single layers and add to beverages, ice creams, gelatos and sorbets.

11.  FROST — Grapes “frosted” with sugars are an elegant garnish for flans and brulees, cakes and dessert plates.

12.  GRAB-‘n-GO —  Pack ’em in clam shells, plastic tumblers–whatever you’ve got–as a stand-alone grab-n-go or as a side or accompaniment to sandwiches and wraps.

13.  GRILL — Skewer up the grapes, brush with a glaze, grill and serve warm as a side, garnish, or for dipping.

14.  LAYER — Grapes are juicy, nutritious, and beautiful in parfaits.

15.  PICKLE — Pickled grapes are a wonderful side for a Ploughman’s Lunch.

16.  ROAST —  Just like when you roast vegetables, grapes also caramelize, yielding a flavor that is wholly unique.  You can top your dish with roasted grapes as-is or turn them into a luscious sauce.

17.  SAUCE —  Think of the classic Sole Veronique and then create your own signature sauce with grapes.  Consider grape skillet sauces made with wine or other flavorful liquids, herbs and spices, shallots and garlic–improvise at will.

18.  SAUTE — Grapes tossed in hot oils and fats are literally ready to burst with flavor.

19.  SKEWER —  Replace tomatoes with grapes and skewer up a Caprese salad bite.  Alternate grape berries with cheese cubes, or grill them on a kebob with meats, fish and shrimp.

20.  SMOKE —  For a unique flavor dimension try smoked grapes.  They pair well with cheese, seafood, antipasto, and more.  Chicken crostini with smoked grapes anyone?

21.  SWAP —  Replace tomatoes with grapes; grapes can go anywhere a tomato goes…and beyond.  Think salsa, salads, gazpacho, skewers, roasted in sauces…and more!

We Have A Winner…

Wow…where to start?  After having spent the last 9 days abroad, I can honestly say I am truly glad to be back home and pecking away on my laptop.  Even though vacations are fun & exciting, it always feels good to get back into the swing of things.  Back in my own bed, back with my kids and pets, back to reality.

The hubs and I traveled to Paris and London last week.  We had a little bit of vacation and relaxation and also attended the first ever London Produce Show–which was very boutique-like in size and quite well done.  The exhibitor booths were all the same dimension which allowed for easy viewing and maneuvering throughout the show floor.  There were cooking demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and produce industry speaker sessions, in addition to the expo of businesses represented.  Many giveaways and a great lot of interesting and unique things to see and sample and an abundance of opportunities for networking and new introductions.  This show was clearly a “winner,” and in my humble, UK-loving opinion, the venue could not be beat.

lps2     London Produce Show

With that said, I have also named another recent “winner,” here at King Fresh.  While away in Europe, we had our monthly drawing for our new Grape Lover’s Giveaway section of the website.  …and I am excited to announce that Mary Hall of Kentucky is our lucky winner for the month of May.  Mary will be receiving a lovely “Spring Bouquet of Sweets and Fruit Gift Box.”  Congratulations go out to Mary…and good luck goes out to all entries this month!

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Since June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, we will be giving away a wonderful 512 page “Five-A-Day Cookbook” featuring 200 vegetable and fruit recipes.  Don’t delay–let your fingers do the walking over to http://www.kingfresh.com and enter to win TODAY!

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“Winner” might just be associated with your name this June!!

Eating in Season

Fruits and vegetables

The benefits of “Eating In Season” are truly substantial for several reasons! When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. It’s the basic law of supply and demand, and when crops are in season you’ll be rewarded financially by purchasing what’s growing now.

For most of us, the taste of the food we buy is every bit as important as the cost, if not more so. When food is not in season locally, it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world, and both affect the taste. If possible, grow it and pick it yourself – you’ll know exactly what went into growing those vegetables and you can enjoy them at their peak the day they are harvested. If gardening isn’t your thing, visit a local farmers’ market weekly or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, some of whom even deliver the weekly harvest to convenient distribution locations.

While it might not always be possible to purchase your seasonal produce locally, the next best thing is to purchase what’s in season somewhere else – and hopefully not too very far away to minimize shipping time and subsequent damage.

So determine what’s in season right now and dig in. You’ll be rewarded with high quality produce, packed with nutrition, at a lower cost. And your taste buds will definitely thank you for it!

Be Green, Share Gold

There are many choices we make each day that influence the size of our carbon footprint, one major one being the food we buy and eat. One of the best ways to be environmentally conscious about the food you consume is to purchase produce that is in season. Not only will these products be cheaper and more flavorful but it is also a much more sustainable way of eating. This is due to the fact that seasonal vegetables don not need to travel as far distances to reach their markets and thus do not require as much fuel to transport. Moreover, out of season produce generally need chemical washes as well as wax coatings in order to preserve them over the course of their long travels to their destination markets. Thus, by eating seasonally, one reduces the need for these chemical processes and reduces their overall carbon footprint.

This handy guide shows…

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Novelty in the Produce Aisle: Sumo Tangerines, Kiwi Berries and Romanesco Broccoli

These produce items are unique and interesting. Fresh produce is an ever-changing and evolving commodity…and don’t forget, it’s GOOD for you, too!  Eat up!

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If there’s one thing I love in life, it’s the novelty of it all! And that means foods too. This past month I’ve tried sumo tangerines, kiwi berries and romanesco broccoli:

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum

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