A perfect use for fresh-from-the-vine concord grapes is grape hulll pie. Photo by Carole Coates
We’ve been trying to grow grapes, mostly concord, for years up here on our mountainside, but frost always came before most of the fruit ripened. Until last year. Hallelujah, we finally harvested enough grapes that even after we’d gotten our fill of straight-from-the-vine-into-our-mouths concord deliciousness, we still had enough grapes to make this wonderful pie.
My grandmother introduced me to the delicacy of grape hull pie many moons ago. For years, I remembered it with mouth-watering nostalgia, but I had no recipe to satisfy my salivary glands. Then one day, like magic, a reader-submitted recipe appeared in my local newspaper. As usual, I made a few tweaks. Here’s my version, straight from our garden. This recipe will make one deep-dish pie or two regular sized pies.
Grape Hull Pie
First off, you’ll need to prepare dough for a double crust pie using your favorite recipe. Double your recipe unless you’re going the deep dish route.
Preheat oven to 400°F. (You may want to delay this until a bit later in the process, since the next steps take longer than needed to preheat the oven.)
• 4 cups pulp from concord grapes–see below for directions (You can substitute scuppernong or muscadine grapes if you prefer.)
• 4 tbsp cornstarch
• ¾ cup sugar (more if your sweet tooth is especially strong)
• 1 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tbsp butter
1. Pop freshly washed grapes with your fingers, putting the skins into a small pot and the pulp into a medium-sized one.
2. Barely cover the skins with water and boil for five minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Simultaneously, boil the pulp for five minutes. Pour the cooked pulp through a colander into a bowl, pressing with a spoon, if necessary, to separate the pulp from the seeds and push the pulp through the colander. (Don’t let this step put you off. It’s easy to do, and it’s even possible the pulp will be fully liquefied with no mashing needed.)
4. Return seedless pulp to the pot. Add the hulls with their liquid and stir.
5. Stir in all remaining ingredients and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.
6. Pour into pie shell. Cover with top crust and make several vents with sharp knife.
7. Cover crust edge with aluminum foil or silicone pie shield to prevent edges from burning. Bake on rack in center of oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove shield and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until top crust is nicely browned. (You may want to place a parchment-covered cookie sheet on lower rack to catch drips. I recommend not placing pie directly on cookie sheet so the lower crust cooks more evenly.)
8. Place pie on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve plain or top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Life will never again be the same!
Carole Coatesis a gardener and food preservationist, family archivist, essayist, poet, photographer, modern homesteader. You can follow her Mother Earth News blog posts here.You can also find Carole atLiving On the Diagonalwhere she shares her take on life, including modern homesteading, food preparation and preservation, and travel as well random thoughts and reflections, personal essays, poetry, and photography.
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