Concord grapes are not named for their association with the capital of Massachusetts, where they were first cultivated in the early 19th century.
This variety of grapes is a native of the northeastern United States, growing wild in woods from Maine to Virginia and thriving in regions with cool climates (they won’t ripen if temperatures remain above about 80 degrees).
Mature concord grapes are small and purplish-black, but the ones we typically have access to in grocery stores are purple varieties that have been treated with a dye.
The Concord variety has a much more complex flavor than the typical purple grape.
Can you freeze concord grapes? Yes, you can freeze concord grapes.
Freezing is an excellent option if you have too many fresh concords on your hands and don’t want to lose the excess harvest.
Whole or sliced concords will both freeze well.
In this article, we will look at how to freeze concord grapes, what methods you can use to prepare them for freezing, and some useful tips.
Where Do Concord Grapes Come From?
As mentioned, concord grapes are native to the northeastern part of the United States, but they are grown throughout North America and in parts of Europe.
They do particularly well in California’s Central Valley and continue to thrive there even when conditions become too warm for many other growing fruits.
Because they are a non-hybrid variety of grape (i.e., they are not produced through the fusion of two-parent plants), concord grapes were once used to make grape juice and wine.
They have been used for these purposes since their cultivation in North America began but are most well-known today for being baked into pies or eaten fresh.
Unlike other types of grapes, concord grapes tend to be rather soft when ripe.
They have a sweet, almost musky flavor that is usually described as being slightly tart.
Some people enjoy eating concord grapes raw, but most prefer to taste after having been cooked.
Does Freezing Affect Concord Grapes?
Concord grapes have a shelf life of about one week at room temperature and can be kept in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
If you want to ensure that your concords stay fresh for as long as possible, follow these tips:
Keep them cold. Like most fruit, concords tend to lose their flavor and become soggy when left at room temperature for more than a few days.
If you don’t think you’re going to use the whole bunch at once, cut out any bruised or rotten grapes from the bunch.
Store your concords in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Concord grapes become more flavorful when baked, but you can increase their flavor by adding a little lemon juice to the dough.
Sometimes, however, there are too many concords on your hands for you to use them all before they go bad.
Freezing is a great option for these times—it gives you the ability to extend the shelf life of concords so that you can have fresh grapes available all year round.
That being said, freezing does potentially change the texture and flavor of concords, so you’ll want to use these tips for preparing your grapes before they go into the freezer:
- Wash your concord grapes thoroughly before you cut them open. This will help to reduce their chances of spoiling once frozen.
- Remove any stems attached to the grapes (this is unnecessary if you are planning on using the grapes for cooking).
- If your concords have begun to soften or become ripe, consider freezing them before they become too soft.
How to Freeze Concord Grapes?
The freezing process for concord grapes is very similar to the process used for other types of fruits.
If you want to freeze whole concords, remove them from their stems and place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or tray.
Once they have frozen (usually overnight), transfer the grapes into plastic freezer bags or hard-sided containers.
You can also freeze concords in various products, including liquid, jelly, and puree.
Just don’t forget to label your frozen grapes with their contents and the date they were frozen.
You’ll be able to easily pullout a bag of concords whenever you want, without needing to worry about them going bad.
They will last in the freezer for up to 6 months, but they are best if used within three months.
How to Thaw Frozen Concord Grapes?
When you want to use your frozen concords, remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature.
You can keep them in a sealed container or bag until they are completely defrosted, but be sure to wash any that have become covered in frost beforehand.
You can also leave the container in the refrigerator.
This should take just a couple of hours and help you maintain your concords’ flavor and texture better than leaving them at room temperature.
After they have thawed in the refrigerator, they are ready to use or cook with.
Avoid using frozen concords in recipes that require quick-cooking (such as baking or sautéing) because they can become soggy and lose their flavor.
Instead, use them for preparation methods such as stewing or poaching.
Freezing your concords is one of the best ways to prolong these delicious fruits’ freshness without sacrificing quality.
How to Use Thawed Concord Grapes?
Concord grapes can be used to make a variety of dishes.
They are great in desserts, including jams and pies.
You can also use them as an ingredient in your favorite recipes for fruit salads or tarts.
You can take advantage of the delectable flavor and antioxidant power that concords offer by eating them fresh.
Just slice the grapes in half, enjoy them as a snack, or put them on top of some yogurt for a nice mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
If you have children, you can puree concord grapes into fruit roll-ups to give them an easy way to get more vitamins and fiber without much preparation.
How to Tell if Concord Grapes are Bad?
When you have many concords in your refrigerator, it can be especially hard to tell which ones are going bad and which ones still have a long shelf life.
You should never eat any fruits or vegetables that appear to be rotting, moldy, or spoiled, but there are other ways to determine whether or not your concords are still good.
Concord grapes can become overripe quickly, so keep an eye out for any beginning to soften or have dry, shriveled skin.
If your concords start to split apart when you touch them, they should be removed from the other fruit as soon as possible.
Use these tips and tricks to ensure that your concord grapes don’t go to waste.
In conclusion, concord grapes are an easy way to add antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber to your diet.
They can be frozen using various methods, and they are delicious, both raw and cooked.
Take advantage of all the wonderful ways you can use concord grapes to make your meals more nutritious and flavorful.
Keep your concords fresh for as long as possible with these tips and tricks.