How to Make Fresh Concord Grape Granita
Years ago at the farmers market in downtown Chicago I saw a small box of concord grapes. On a whim I bought them and then came the question 'what do I do with them?'. I chose to make a granita because at a dinner party years ago Sheska made a delicious apple granita that she paired with madeleine cookies for desert.
At the farmers market in Andersonville a couple of weeks ago I saw concord grapes and bought them with the express purpose to make a grape granita.
I could not find the original recipe I used and so I made it up, which is also kind of what I did when I made a watermelon granita while I was living in Iraq.
Here is a rough recipe for concord grape granita with some notes to adjust the sweetness.
4 cups of concord grapes
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 a lemon
Remove your grapes from the stem and give them a good washing. Then add them to a large pot. I find a larger pot a little easier because when it bubbles you don't splash grape goo all over the kitchen. Add 1/2 a cup of sugar and the juice of half a lemon. If you do not have a lemon on hand don't worry, just make your granita without it. Bring the grapes right to a boil and then turn down the heat and let them simmer for a good half hour. At that time everything should be quite mushy and you should have a good amount of liquid. Also, make sure you give it a taste. If it seems sweet enough then don't add any sugar. If it seems a bit tart, then your granita is going to be tart, which if that is what you prefer then go for it, but if you want it to be sweet then I suggest you add more sugar to taste.
If the grapes still seem firm then let them simmer for another ten minutes or so. When your grapes are nice and liquidy then take them off the heat and let them cool for about ten minutes.
You will want to make sure that you have a fine sieved strainer or a chinois. Put 1/3 of your mixture in the strainer over a bowl and with a spatula push the grape mixture into the strainer. Keep doing that until you have squeezed out all of the juice. Then repeat for the remaining grape mixture. I saved my grape rinds and froze them to use for a future fabric dying project.
A large glass baking pan works well for the next part. You want something large enough that when you pour your juice into that it is not deeper then 2 inches in the pan. Pour your juice into your container and place it in the freezer. Approximately every hour stir the mixture with a fork. You want to keep it from freezing into a solid block of ice. This takes about 3 hours.
Once it is frozen enjoy.
This is a little time consuming because you do have to be around to stir it once you put it in the freezer, but overall it is a quick, easy and relatively healthy dessert.
Originally published 9/19/13