Add flavor, color, and good nutrition to your family’s morning bowl of oatmeal by topping with dried cranberries, walnuts, and Concord grapes.
If you struggle to get your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, just visit a farmers’ market or local farm, or plant a backyard garden. It’s amazing what you might find or grow and how produce plucked straight from the garden can entice even the pickiest of eaters to try something new. My boys outgrew picky eating a long time ago, but I’m still on the constant lookout for interesting new fruits and veggies to keep their taste buds inspired.
Enter the CONCORD GRAPE.
Down the road and through the woods from my home in Lexington, a suburb of Boston, is Meadow Mist Farm, a gem of an organic farm that’s harvesting these gorgeous, sweet, Concord grapes RIGHT NOW.
I took a field trip to Meadow Mist last week with my friend Casey Lewis, the registered dietitian for Welch’s, which is located a few miles further down the road in Concord. Their juices and jellies are made with this same type of grape, grown on family-owned farms across the country, so I knew Casey would be interested in trying a bunch … or two … or three of this local variety.
I carpooled with Casey to the recent Blog Brûlée retreat in VT where Welch’s was one of the sponsors, and on the ride home, I took Casey on a detour to the farm. She wears many hats at Welch’s, working hard to spread the word about the power of purple foods.
Enter COOL INFOGRAPHIC.
Concord grapes are technically berries, and they’re rich in a natural plant compound called polyphenols. Eating foods rich in polyphenols keeps us healthy, especially our hearts … and of course, berries taste great, so adding more of them to the diet each day is an easy sell. (Needless to say, my family has consumed A LOT of polyphenols over the past few weeks.)
Now, back to the farm …
This is Lauren Yaffee, farmer extraordinaire at Meadow Mist. Here she is snipping grapes for us.
And here’s Simon (on the right) and a friend visiting the farm a few days later. It took no arm twisting at all to get them to pick (
more than) a few grapes to sample.
So how can parents add grapes to their family’s diet in a way that keeps things interesting? Try some of my healthy snack and breakfast ideas:
SNACK ON GRAPES out of hand: Fresh fruit is one of nature’s most nutritious fast foods, and grapes are as portable as they get.
FREEZE THEM for later: Wash the fruit; remove from the stems; pat dry with a paper towel; place in a single layer on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet; pop in the freezer and freeze; transfer Individually-frozen grapes to re-sealable bags and place back in the freezer. Nibble on frozen grapes any time or use them later in pancakes or muffins.
Add to a parfait layered with yogurt and granola …
Use as a topping for French toast …
Add to oatmeal. For this “recipe,” I cooked up a half cup of quick-cooking oats in the microwave and then topped it with Concord grapes, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of Vermont maple syrup.
Meadow Mist Farm is only about a mile from my house, so whenever Concord grapes are in season, I’ll stop by.