Fall marks a special time for seasonal produce. From winter squash to apples to pears to Brussels, we’re beyond excited to start indulging in our favorite fall treats. And, although they’re typically available year round, grapes are particularly perfect right now. They’ve been hanging on the vine all summer, and are finally ready to be harvested and enjoyed by the masses. Fall also sets the stage for a ton of variety—green, red, black, seedless, and wine are all bursting at the seams (or, stems). So, in honor of our love for the sweet, sweet spheres, we rounded up our favorite kinds, when they’re in season, and how to buy them. Have a grape day, guys.
What to eat
Most often, this is the red grape you’re buying from grocery stores, especially in the winter. Red, round, crunchy and tart, this juicy grape is much-loved, and for good (read: snacks) reason. Available August through December, and hitting their peak in mid October.
Somehow, these drops of heaven are grown naturally, though they taste just like candy. Cotton candy, to be clear. These sweet treats are insanely good, if not down right addicting. And, you definitely won’t feel a sugar high (and subsequent low) if you indulge in too many. Cotton candy grapes have one of the shorter seasons, and, truth be told, it’s coming to a close, so stop reading and go buy some of nature’s beautiful candy!
Unfortunately, this isn’t actually the grape you make champagne out of, though we wish it were true. This super small grape (sometimes called black corinth or Zante currant) is grown mainly in Europe, and is a wonderful sweet, crunchy snack. Chefs also use this tiny treat as garnish to decorate desserts. Champagne grapes have a shorter season, so if you see them, scoop them up.
You have this tender, blue-purple grape to thank for your favorite jams, jellies, juices, and even candies and sodas. The most recognized grape flavor, concords are grown in Northeast, US, and can withstand extreme temperature shifts. (Maybe that’s why they’re such a delicious frozen snack.) Also, they have an amazing sweet, honey smell. The truest of the fall grapes, the Concords are in season September through late October, so go get ’em.
A summer through winter favorite, these light green/ amber grapes are a seedless delight. Crisp and clean, these go perfectly with a creamy cheese when you’re craving a more decadent snack. Something you may not know: Thompson Seedless are most commonly used to make raisins! These are in season for quite a while, but hit their farmer’s market peak in October and November.
In general, here’s what to look for:
When buying your favorite grape, look for a nice plumpness, consistent color, and pliable, green stems. If you see grapes with a light white coating, don’t worry! It’s natural, and helps prevent decay.
Are some grapes really more noble than others? The answer: why yes, yes they are. These very noble grapes relate to the 18 major leaguers that create all the wines you know and love. Historically, this list held only six varieties of the highest quantity, but the list has expanded over time. If you master each one, you’ll have an understanding of the profiles of most reds and whites…of the whole world. Simply put, you’ll be a wine master. To name just a few, you’ve got the light red grapes of Pinot Noir, the candied reds of Malbec, the green, earthy grapes of Sauvignon Blanc, and the rich, full bodied flavor of Chardonnay. Noble grapes are like our oldest wine friends. Whether you’re more adventures (read: you love orange wine), or you tend to stick to the classics, these grapes, and their subsequent wines, will never disappoint!