Real Grape Nuts

Dateline: 18 November 2016

I was working around my garden yesterday and noticed this lone Concord grape, hanging by a bit of stem on a trellis support wire. It reminded me of a Christmas tree ornament.

It is November and my grapes have long since been harvested. But after the frosts killed off the once-dense canopy of grape leaves, a few grapes, like this one, can still be found. And they are delicious.

There was a time when I did not consider Concord grapes to be delicious. The first Concord grape I ever ate off the vine was disgusting to me.  I was a teenager and had recently moved with my family out of suburbia to this area of rural upstate New York (where I still reside). I had grown up eating seedless grapes from the supermarket. I expected a Concord grape off the vine to be like those supermarket grapes. But it wasn't. The Concord is more slimy than juicy. And I didn't expect the big seeds. I spit that first grape out. It was terrible.

Fortunately, I have gotten well beyond my initial revulsion with the Concord grape. In fact, I would much rather eat a Concord grape from my Upland trellis than a storebought seedless grape from who-knows-where. I appreciate the remarkably rich flavor. I appreciate the numerous health benefits. And I even appreciate those seeds, which are, by all accounts, amazingly good for a body. Homegrown Concord grapes are so healthful that I equate the eating of each grape to the taking of a natural vitamin pill.

That grape in the picture above had three seeds in it....

Now here is something about grape seeds that you probably did not know (I didn't know this until recently).... The old-timers used to refer to grape seeds as "grape nuts."

I grew up thinking grape nuts was a boxed cereal. And, considering that it contains neither grapes nor nuts, I always wondered how Grapenuts cereal got it's name. Well, now that I know what real grape nuts are (and I've chewed down a few real grape nuts), I can understand why Charles William Post named his new (in 1897) cereal Grapenuts. Having grown up in Illinois (where he was a farm implement manufacturer), Post was undoubtedly familiar with real grape nuts. And his hard-baked recipe of wheat and barley, when ground to crunchy bits, were reminiscent of real grape nuts.

I used to like eating Grapenuts cereal, but I haven't consumed a boxed breakfast cereal in decades. Back in my day, Euell Gibbons used to promote Grapenuts in television commercials. If you're an old-timer like me, you will surely remember this. If you're of the younger generation, you won't know what I'm talking about. So, here is an old television commercial to give you some perspective...

1 comment:

  1. I was going back looking for another post and found this one again..funny thing is I found a cluster of grapes near Christmas on my Flame grape vines. First time this has happened so late. They were good too..and being so off season a real treat! Sarah