Grapes are a hearty, flavorful snack or meal complement you can enjoy almost any time of year. Their juicy insides are perfect for quickly and easily adding flavor to a meal, but their small size and smooth, round skins give you many creative ways to use them in attractive meal or appetizer presentations.
Make a Fruit Rainbow
Grapes make a sweet and colorful addition to a summer fruit skewer. Use thin wooden skewers to spear strawberries, oranges and your choice of grape variety for a rainbow of delicious juicy flavor. Or, serve your choice of grape, along with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in a hollowed-out Granny Smith apple for a fresh berry "bowl." Drizzle a little sugar or chocolate syrup on top for extra flavor. If you're serving wine, freeze grapes beforehand and add them to glasses of wine to add a delicious cold sweetness.
Create a Juicy Dessert
Jazz up the your regular fruit salad to make dessert the best part of your meal. On "green night" mix chopped green grapes with kiwi, lime, mint leaves and Granny Smith apples. Serve in a glass dessert bowl with a dollop of whipped cream or a splash of lime juice. You can do the same with red and blue grapes. If you're feeding kids, dice a handful of grapes and scatter them over fat-free frozen yogurt. Make it extra fancy by serving it in a wine glass or snifter. It's a sweet but not-too-sugary treat that won't keep them up all night.
Grapes and other fruits make good appetizers because of their water content -- they're satisfying, but not so filling as to spoil the meal to come. Offer your guests a grape platter with red, blue and green varieties, along with toothpicks for spearing. Add tubs of melted chocolate or fruit-flavored yogurt for dipping. You could also set out miniature buckets filled with sliced or diced grape varieties and let guests create their own grape salad. Supply flavorful garnishes, such as feta cheese crumbles.
Homemade frozen grape pops are healthful and sweet. Drop chopped blue, green and red grapes, along with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, into ice pop molds and freeze for at least two hours. Once the mixture has frozen, it's ready to pop out. You could also whip up grape pizza -- spread vanilla Greek yogurt on pita bread and add chopped grapes. Sprinkle with granola or sunflower seeds and serve as a snack.
Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.