One of our favorite late-summer grapes is the big and nearly black Kyoho. It has one serious fault though--the variety has absolutely no shelf life. That big sugar flavor that is also its downfall, as the sugars quickly ferment inside those dark, inky skins. We'd rather stick to our Cabs and Zins for wine. But what to do about the Kyoho?
At around $4 a pound, it's a bit much to buy some up to make even a small batch of jelly: An arty move, but not terribly practical. You'd need to get a small hill of fruit to make it work, and $30 and a few jelly burns later, you might have maybe five or six jars to show for your effort. To keep the Kyoho's short-lived flavor around, we suggest whipping up a sublime sorbet. One bunch (about a pound) of grapes is all you'll need to make a pint, and it'll have staying power--at least a month or so in your freezer, assuming it lasts that long.
1 bunch/pound Kyoho grapes
1/3 cup water
1 cup simple syrup
2/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or any other big bodied red wine)
1. Wash, de-stem, and halve the grapes. Put them into a small saucepan with the water and simmer until the fruit becomes soft. In another saucepan, make your simple syrup (½ cup sugar in ½ cup of water), stirring until sugar is fully dissolved.
2. Strain the grape liquid and pulp using a mesh strainer and a rubber spatula to push the pulp through and into a pitcher or bowl set over ice. Add the syrup and the wine and stir. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Then make the sorbet using your ice cream maker's instructions.
Don't have an ice cream maker? Put the liquid into a freezable container and whisk every 45 minutes. You'll probably get more of a granita than a sorbet, but it'll still be exceptionally delicious.
The alcohol from the wine will keep it from setting up hard like other sorbets and ice creams would. The result is a perfectly soft and spoonable sorbet, but don't let it sit around (as though you could). Serve it straight from the freezer and dive right in. Or just stand there with a spoon in front of the freezer door and enjoy the balmy chilled air while happily consuming the entire pint. Not that we've ever done this.