Get The Most Out of Your Grapes from Backyard Eats

Harvesting Grapes

When It’s Ready
  • Harvest grapes when plump, juicy, and fully colored.
  • Ready in late summer to early fall.
  • Look for signs of ripeness: rich color, slight softness, sweet aroma
How To
  • Use sharp pruning shears.
  • Snip clusters leaving a small stem.
  • Avoid pulling or twisting.
  • Handle with care to prevent bruising.
  • Store promptly in cool, dry place or fridge.
  • Consider morning harvest for better preservation.
  • Leave some grapes for multiple harvests

About Grapes

Perennial grapes are woody vines that can reach heights of 6-10 feet or more. They thrive in a sunny location, requiring at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Grapes typically do not require protection or pruning throughout the season.

Flowering/Fruiting Tendencies

Perennial grapes are characterized by broad, lobed leaves that provide ample surface area for photosynthesis. Grapes are prized for their sweet, juicy fruit, which develops from the flowers produced by the vine. While the fruit is edible and highly sought after, caution should be exercised with the leaves and other parts of the plant, as they may contain toxins harmful to humans and animals.

Design Notes

Perennial grapes may pose challenges during establishment, particularly in regions with high temperatures. Adequate moisture is crucial for successful establishment, requiring thorough watering especially during hot periods. Proper spacing of plants is essential, with a recommended distance of 24 inches between each grape vine to allow for optimal growth and development.

Care Notes

While grapes can tolerate a range of climates, they thrive in temperate regions with moderate temperatures and well-drained soil. Consistent watering, particularly during dry spells, promotes healthy growth and fruit development.

Mulching around the base of grape vines helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weed growth. Pruning can help manage vine growth, improve air circulation, and promote fruit production.

Storing Grapes

The best way to store homegrown grapes after harvest is to follow these steps:

Sort and Remove:
Sort through the harvested grapes, removing any damaged or spoiled ones.

Do Not Wash:
Avoid washing the grapes before storing them, as moisture can promote mold growth and spoilage.

Dry and Cool:
Lay the grapes in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray or in a perforated plastic bag to allow for air circulation. Store the grapes in the refrigerator at around 32-35°F (0-2°C) to help preserve their freshness.

Ensure there is some ventilation in the storage container or bag to prevent moisture buildup.

Use Within a Week:
Homegrown grapes can typically be stored in the refrigerator for about one week.
It’s best to consume them as soon as possible for the freshest taste.

Cooking With Grapes

  1. Grape and Cheese Platter: Simply wash and dry a bunch of grapes and serve them on a platter alongside your favorite cheeses, crackers, and nuts for a simple yet elegant appetizer or snack.
  2. Grape Smoothie: Blend grapes with yogurt, a banana, and a splash of fruit juice for a refreshing and nutritious smoothie. Add some spinach for extra greens if you like!
  3. Grape Popsicles: Puree grapes with a bit of honey or agave syrup, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze for a homemade treat that’s perfect for hot summer days.
  4. Grape Salad: Toss halved grapes with a bit of chopped celery and walnuts, then mix in some mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a simple and tasty salad.
  5. Grape Pizza: Spread pizza dough with a thin layer of olive oil or tomato sauce, then top with halved grapes, crumbled goat cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh thyme before baking until golden and bubbly.
  6. Grape and Chicken Pasta: Saute diced chicken breast with garlic and olive oil, then add halved grapes and cooked pasta to the pan. Toss everything together with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese for a quick and easy meal.
  7. Grape Crostini: Toast slices of baguette until golden brown, then top with softened cream cheese or goat cheese and halved grapes. Drizzle with a bit of honey for a sweet and savory appetizer.
  8. Grape Parfait: Layer vanilla yogurt, granola, and halved grapes in a glass for a simple and satisfying parfait that’s perfect for breakfast or dessert.
  9. Grape Infused Water: Add halved grapes to a pitcher of water along with some fresh herbs like mint or basil for a refreshing and flavorful infused water.
  10. Frozen Grape Snacks: Freeze whole grapes on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag for a quick and healthy snack that’s perfect for munching on straight from the freezer.

Try These Grape Recipes:

Want To Learn More?

At Backyard Eats, we’re passionate about helping our clients discover and share the magic of homegrown good. Our Harvest Guides will teach you everything you need to know to harvest, store, and cook with fresh produce right from your own backyard! Our Harvest Toolkit Directory includes a list of all our step-by-step guides. Click below to give them a try!