Shake It Off
Fro-grapes or frozen grapes are a treat beyond compare especially during hot summer months. Packed with vitamins C and B-1, flavonoids, disease-fighting antioxidants, potassium, and manganese, they are a healthier alternative when you are craving for sweets or ice cream. A handful of fro-grapes dropped in a beverage, even a glass of water, will bring instant smiles.
How To Freeze
Use seedless grapes. I buy a mix of red, black, and green grapes. Wash, dry, and de-stem. Place the grapes in a colander, wash in cool water. After a thorough washing, leave the colander on the sink to let excess water drain. Dry the grapes thoroughly by placing a single layer on paper towels. Dab until dry. Lay them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze. By freezing them this way, the grapes will not clump together and will freeze uniformly. Once frozen, place them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer.
- Eat as a snack right from the freezer or thaw for a few minutes.
- To dress up a bowl of punch, make decorative fro-grapes. Fill a ring mold with red, green and black grapes then add just enough water to cover. Freeze. Add the fro-grapes to your favorite punch just before serving. You can also freeze grapes in smaller molds or ice cube trays for single-serves.
- Frozen grapes can replace fresh grapes in any recipe as they retain their intense color and flavor, and hold their shape when thawed. Grapes add color, texture, sweetness and flavor without overpowering other ingredients.
- When using frozen grapes for preserves, thaw in refrigerator just until the grapes are crushable.
This slushy combination of fresh grapes, lime, and rum makes the perfect cooler for a hot summer day. To make a nonalcoholic version, simply omit the rum.
- 1/2 cup green, red or black California Grapes
- 1 jigger (2 ounces) rum
- 1 short jigger (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened lime juice (such as Rose’s)
- 1 1/2 cups iceWhiz all the ingredients in a blender and puree until slushy, about 2 minutes.
Serve a highball glass.
BUBBLE MILK TEA
“Bubble Tea” started in Taiwan and can now be found in cities all over the Philippines. The tall, cold tea drinks are traditionally made with a strong brewed tea mixed with brown sugar syrup and big, black, chewy tapioca balls that fall to the bottom of the drink. Since tapioca balls don’t appeal to everyone, I suggest using fresh grapes as an alternative! Serve the drink with a long spoon, or look for the super fat, colorful “Bubble Tea” straws at supermarkets.
- 1/2 cup sliced California Black or Red Grapes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup strong brewed Dilmah black, green, or Jasmine tea
- 2 tbsp brown sugar syrup
Pour all the ingredients into a 20-ounce glass and stir well.
Fill with ice and serve immediately.
GRAPE TROPICANA FRUIT BLEND
- 150g crushed ice
- 50g California Green Grapes (about 10 pieces)
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 fresh mango
- 1/2 med-sized fresh banana, frozen
- 1/4 cup water
Mix all the ingredients in a blender, making sure the banana is frozen.
Pour in highball glass.
HEALTHY GRAPE TOFU SHAKE
- 150g crushed ice
- 100g soft tofu
- 50g California Black Grapes (about 10 pieces)
- 1 to 2 tbsp brown sugar syrup
Pulse ice in a blender. Add tofu, grapes, and brown sugar syrup. Blend further and pour in a highball glass.
Brown Sugar Syrup
- Stir together 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup refined sugar and 1 cup water in a small sauce pan.
- Boil for 5 minutes then cool.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.