Overripe grapes are inedible, right? Wrong! Sure, they’re less appetizing than their fresher counterparts and can cause some stomach discomfort if eaten in large quantities.
But that doesn’t mean the grapes have to go to waste. With a little creativity, you can find many ways to put them to good use—and get more for your money while you’re at it.
Creative Things to Do with Overripe Grapes
- Turn up the Heat
- “Raisin” the Stakes
- Refreeze Them
- The Possibility of Wine
- Juices and Jams
- Special Recipes
- Dried Grapes
- Grape Jelly
- Grape Vinegar
- Vegetable Soup
- Grape Jam
- Grape Pie
1. Turn up the Heat
If you’re not a fan of raisins, there are other ways to put overripe grapes to good use. One option is to turn them into juice or jam.
To make grape juice, start by blanching and peeling the grapes (just like in the raisin-making process). Then, place them in a blender and fill the pitcher with water.
Blend until you have a fine mixture, then strain out any pulp or seeds in a strainer that’s been lined with cheesecloth. Add sugar to taste if desired (though it probably won’t be necessary), and enjoy!
If making jam sounds more appealing than juice, follow basically the same process but add less water so you end up with more of a grape paste—perfect for spreading on toast, adding to sandwiches , etc.
One final option is to turn your overripe grapes into jelly by following this recipe . The only difference is that instead of just four cups of fruit, use six cups filled half way each time before boiling them down completely.
2. “Raisin” the Stakes
If you need to top off a grapevine wreath or are looking for an unusual décor element, look no further than some dried grapes.
If you have a dehydrator, use it . If not, put the grapes in an oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour to create raisin-like grape clusters.
Once dried, your overripe grapes are now ready to be used as decoration—no additional steps necessary!
You can string them together into garlands or wreaths using florist wire, hang them from picture frames, place them inside vases , and so on. Or simply scatter them across tabletops in bowls
You’ll also find that these dried grapes make great additions to homemade bath bombs!
They add color without adding any extra additives or chemicals while still being gentle enough for sensitive skin types.
Plus they offer some nice benefits like exfoliation and skin nourishment.
If you’re not sure how to use them, the grapes may start out as decorations but become food—so keep that in mind when placing your grape garlands or wreaths throughout the house!
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3. Refreeze Them
If your overripe grapes are still feeling squishy, you can possibly salvage them by freezing them.
This works best if the grapes haven’t had time to ferment (meaning they aren’t starting to turn into raisins), but it also allows for an easy alternative, later on, should you want to use the frozen fruit for smoothies.
Just place the grapes in a resealable bag, and pop them into your freezer!
While this method should work to preserve overripe grapes for later use, it does run the risk of fermenting them or allowing other mold/mildew growths to form on their surface if you don’t use them up relatively quickly.
If you don’t happen to have an abundance of grapes on hand, but still want a healthy treat that tastes good and won’t break the bank, then consider making your own fresh grape juice!
There are several methods for creating your grape-based elixir, ranging from simple stovetop juice to using a juicer, but the easiest way is by simply boiling them on your stovetop for about 30 minutes.
When you’re done, it’s time to drink up! The final product will range from light pink/red if there are more white grape varieties involved or dark red depending on what grapes were used and how long they boiled.
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4. The Possibility of Wine
It might not be the sort of wine you’re used to—and it definitely won’t taste good unless fermentation has already taken place—but you can still turn overripe grapes into wine, anyway.
Don’t believe it? The good news is that the internet has your back here with tons of recipes out there for homemade grape wines.
You might even find some instructions on how to ferment overripe grapes in an old-fashioned pot or cask without special equipment (check YouTube).
That said, if you want a specific recipe and not one that’s cobbled together online, buy a book like Grape Winemaking by Tom Burford.
You may be wondering whether this counts as viniculture since fermentation won’t take place until after the grapes are dried out.
The answer comes down to personal interpretation, but many authorities would say no since the grapes need to be fresh and not dried out.
If you want a more specific answer, check with your local government agency that oversees wineries or contact the American Wine Society.
They might be able to give you some definitive information on what can and cannot go into wine production in your area.
5. Juices and Jams
If you’re not quite sure what to do with your overripe grapes, why not try turning them into juice or jam? This is a great way to use up small batches of fruit and can be especially helpful if you have a lot of grape skins leftover from drying.
Making grape juice is simple enough: just boil the fruit and strain out the pulp. While it’s not quite as simple to make grape jam, you do have a few options for this sweet spreadable treat—including canning or freezing your grape jelly/jam!
You may need to add extra sugar depending on how ripe your grapes are when you start (or if they were frozen), but in general, grape jam is a pretty forgiving recipe.
6. Special Recipes
If you like to experiment in the kitchen, think about these ideas for using up your overripe grapes.
Keep in mind that some recipes may call for dried grapes instead of fresh; if this is the case, feel free to rehydrate them first by soaking or boiling before proceeding with whatever recipe you choose.
Grape leaves are a popular addition to Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in dishes like grape leaf rolls or stuffed grape leaves.
You can find these recipes all over the internet, and they’re usually pretty easy to follow—just make sure you have some fresh or frozen grape leaves on hand!
Another dish that might be of interest is a type of Indian pudding called kheer. This dessert is made from rice, milk, sugar, and sometimes nuts; it also includes raisins which can easily be replaced by dried grapes.
Kheer generally takes a few hours to cook so it’s perfect for when you want something sweet but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Last but not least, consider making your own grape jam! It’s a fairly simple process, and all you need are some sugar, pectin (found in most grocery stores), and of course, the grapes themselves.
Jam is a great way to use up small batches of fruit, and it’s perfect for spreading on toast or biscuits.
7. Dried Grapes
If you want to avoid any potential problems with mold or bacteria, consider drying your overripe grapes.
This is a great option if you want to store them for future use or make something like raisins.
Drying grapes is a pretty simple process: all you need are some parchment paper and oven trays (or screens) and you’re ready to go!
The fruit will last indefinitely when it’s done, but keep in mind that dried grapes won’t be as sweet because the water has been removed; this means they’re best eaten out of hand rather than cooked into other recipes.
To get started with drying your own grapes, check online for specific instructions on how to dry each type of grape since there may be slight differences depending on where the fruit was grown.
If you have trouble finding information about these details—or don’t want to take the time to search—try contacting a local grape grower or winery.
They should be more than happy to help out and might even have some tips on how to get the best results from drying grapes.
8. Grape Jelly
Last but not least, consider making some grape jelly. This is an especially good option if you’re concerned about mold or bacteria, since jelly is a shelf-stable product that can be stored in your pantry for up to a year.
All you need are some sugar, pectin (again, this is usually available at most grocery stores), and of course, grapes. You can either use fresh or frozen grapes for jelly; just make sure they’re fully thawed before you start cooking.
The process of making grape jelly is relatively simple: cook the grapes with sugar until they reach the desired consistency, then add pectin and let it boil for another minute or two.
Pour the mixture into jars while it’s still hot, screw on the lids, and let them cool down on their own Ta-da! Grape jelly, just like that.
Raisins are a type of dried grape. They’re an ingredient in many dishes, including curries and stews, and they’re also a popular addition to baked goods like bread and muffins.
There are many different ways to make raisins, but the easiest method is to simply place them in a baking dish with high sides and bake at 165 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours.
You’ll know your grapes are ready when they’re dry, shriveled up, and easy to cut or break; this means that the sugars have been concentrated into raisins instead of drying out into hard crystals like sugar does!
Although it’s not necessary, you can turn off the oven after two hours (or whenever they look “done” enough), let them cool overnight on their own without opening the door, then finish cooking them first thing in the morning.
Upon turning off the heat from these baking instructions , make sure all vents and doors leading outside are open so moisture doesn’t end up trapped inside: otherwise you’ll have a raisin disaster on your hands.
10. Grape Vinegar
Last but not least, we have grape vinegar. This is an interesting option if you want to do something a little different with your overripe grapes and it has the added bonus of being healthy for you too!
Grape vinegar is made by fermenting grape juice, and the end result is a sour, acidic liquid that has a number of potential health benefits.
It can help with digestion, weight loss, blood sugar control, and more.
If you’re interested in making your own grape vinegar, it’s actually a pretty simple process.
All you need are some overripe grapes (of course), white wine vinegar (or any other type of vinegar if you want to experiment), cheesecloth or muslin cloths, and an airtight container.
The first step is to crush or chop up your grapes so they’ll fit into a quart-sized jar; then pour in the white wine vinegar until the grapes are completely covered.
Cover the jar with cheesecloth or muslin cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. Place the jar in a cool, dark place and let it sit for two to four weeks.
Once the mixture has fermented, you can either leave it as is or strain out all of the grape pulp.
Either way, store your finished product in an airtight container and it will keep in the fridge for up to six months.
11. Vegetable Soup
If you want to use overripe grapes in a meal, consider making vegetable soup.
You can start by sautéing garlic, onion, celery, and carrot in a bit of olive oil or butter before adding some chicken broth.
Once it’s heated up, you can throw in your overripe grapes along with any other vegetables you have on hand (such as green beans), bring the mixture to a boil again, then lower the heat until it simmers for around 20 minutes.
You can also add pasta at this point if desired; just be sure not to overcook so that everything turns mushy instead of nice and chewy!
This soup is delicious all by itself but you could always sprinkle it with grated parmesan cheese for an extra kick too.
12. Grape Jam
If there’s one thing that can be said for sure about overripe grapes, it’s that they make delicious jam!
This is a great way to use up a large quantity of grapes, and it’s surprisingly easy to do.
All you need are some overripe grapes (of course), sugar, lemon juice, and a thickener such as pectin or cornstarch.
Start by heating your grape pulp in a large pot until it breaks down and starts to release its juices, then add a cup of sugar for every pound of grapes you use.
Next, stir in the lemon juice and any spices or flavorings you want (such as cinnamon), bring everything to a boil again, then lower the heat until it simmers.
To thicken your jam even more, either mix pectin or cornstarch into a small amount of water, then add it to the pot.
Once your jam is nice and thick, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for around 20 minutes before transferring everything to canning jars.
After that, just wait for them to seal! This grape jam will keep in the pantry all winter long.
13. Grape Pie
If you’re in the mood for something a little sweeter, grape pie might be just the thing! This is an easy dessert to make and it’s perfect for using up those last few grapes of the season.
All you need are some overripe grapes (of course), sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Start by mixing together the sugar, flour, and butter until it forms a crumbly dough; then press half of it into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased pie dish.
Add your grapes to the remaining dough mixture along with any spices you want (cinnamon and nutmeg are a must), then mix everything together until it forms a sticky dough.
Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for around 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
This grape pie is best served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top, but it’s also delicious when eaten cold! If you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge for a few days.
If you have a refrigerator full of overripe grapes, it might be tempting to toss them out straight away.
After all, overripe fruit can taste awful, cause “digestive disruptions” (to put it tactfully), and aren’t the kind of thing you want to include in a meal or eat on your own.
Still, it would be a shame for all those grapes to go to waste which is why you will want to consider these six options for salvaging overripe grapes.
Here are some ideas: use them in your next batch of grape jam; make grape juice with lemonade mix; create an interesting salad with goat cheese and other ingredients that compliment the tart flavor of the ripe fruits; mix them with other berries for a delicious and antioxidant-rich smoothie; bake grape pies or turnovers; or make wine.
Grapes are surprisingly versatile and you may be amazed at how tasty they can still be even when their flavors have started to change.