Fall Is In The Air & So Are Concord Grapes

The leaves are beginning to change...days and nights are getting cooler. I know autumn is fast approaching because my Siberian husky Maya, who I haven't seen up on the bed since early May, joined me last night. This is also the time of year when those big, dark blue, highly aromatic grapes make an appearance.

Over the river and through the woods, a foraging we go

I really wasn't on the lookout for them, but there they were, just ripe for the picking — grape vines loaded with Concords. So I zipped back home, dropped off my hiking partner (aforementioned bed mate) and grabbed a large basket.

Hello, 25 pounds of juicy grapes. Score! I love foraging for wild edibles. Last month, I went wild for blackberries. And I've been loading up my blender with purslane all summer — delicious in green smoothies and fresh juices. Folks, if you aren't already foraging, start. There's more places under the sun to grocery shop than Whole Foods!

So, I'm overflowing in grapes. What to do with such bounty? Juice, juice, juice! Check this: a study was done where healthy human breast cells were exposed in a test tube to an environmental carcinogen that has been linked to breast cancer. But when Concord grape juice compounds were introduced, they blocked the connection of the carcinogen to the DNA of the healthy cells. Wild, huh? Drink that grape juice, ladies.

I also made some to-die-for grape chutney. I know. Chutney, right? Who eats chutney? Well, I do, thanks to some inspiration from my boyfriend master chef Matthew Kenney, à la Entertaining in the Raw.

Okay, so Earth Mother's twist on chutney:

Concord Grape Chutney

1 lb Concord grapes
3-4 McIntosh apples, cored and diced
1/4 C raw honey (or agave nectar)
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

Crush half of the grapes through a mesh strainer, reserving the juice. In a food processor: combine the juice with the rest of the grapes and other ingredients. Pulse for just a few seconds. You want the mixture to resemble a thick applesauce-like consistency, but not fully pureed. Dehydrate in a shallow pan for two hours and let cool. You can store this in the fridge in a glass jar for a week or so.

So, now what? Chutney is usually served alongside roasted meats or traditional Indian foods, but hey, not much of either happening in my kitchen. Enter Kristen Suzanne's ULTIMATE Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. Oh yeah, you know where this is going. Is there anything that doesn't taste better with chocolate? Seriously.

Chocolate Chia Crackers with a big dollop of Concord Grape Chutney — tangy, sweet, early-autumn goodness made me so happy. Fall is in the air...and in my mouth!

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