It’s not unusual to see heirloom produce these days at both farmers markets and mainstream grocery stores. Tomatoes, carrots and potatoes – just to name a few – come in all shapes and sizes, and are available in a rainbow of colors. Fruit is a little bit different, however, because even when we buy specialty apples or plums (to pick just two) for their flavor, we still expect them to look similar to mainstream apples and plums in appearance and it just might throw us off to see them in a radically different shape.
I admit that I was thrown off when I first saw these Witch Finger Grapes, which I barely recognized as grapes! The oblong grapes are shaped like the knobbly “witch finger” shortbread cookies that are so popular around Halloween. They’re grown by just one producer in California. You will need two or three of these to make up one large red grape, so you will have a much higher skin-to-juice ratio with these than traditionally shaped grapes. Fortunately, the grapes are quite sweet inside, so that extra sweetness balances out the extra tanins from the grape skins.
They’re marked as a playful heirloom grape that makes a good addition to a meat or cheese platter, or something that is fun and unusual for kids to eat. I definitely give them points for their playful shape because they are fun to eat and are a great conversation starter at a party, but since they’re smaller and less juicy, I still have to give points to “regular” grapes for being just a little bit juicier overall.