Fresh ripe grapes are enjoyed mostly on account of their flavor and aroma. They are rich in sugar, frequently containing nearly twenty percent., but this is not more important than the potash salts they contain. The acid is chiefly tartaric, a part of which is combined with the potash. The seedless grape, such as the black Hamburg, is an excellent food for children and invalids. The white and purple California grapes, with the seeds removed, are equally palatable and wholesome.
Grapes, on account of their sugar, are forbidden to diabetic, rheumatic and gouty patients. The ordinary Concord or similar grapes must be very carefully eaten. If the pulp is to be swallowed, the seeds must be removed between the teeth, and the rich juice on the inside of the skin should be drawn out, and both skin and seeds discarded, as they hinder digestion and frequently cause diarrhoea.
A special grape cure has been established in many grape-growing countries, but the fact is that almost any restricted diet will cure stomach or liver trouble and aid in the removal of chronic constipation, if the patient will adhere to it for a given length of time. It matters not so much whether the "cure" is the "peach," "grape," or "apple cure;" the point is to put the patient on a limited diet until a cure is effected; patients with these troubles are frequently large eaters. Restricted feedings of all kinds must be prescribed and carried out under the eye of a physician and a trained nurse or attendant.
The fruit of some varieties of grapes are dried and known as raisins; these are very rich in sugar. The ordinary dried "currants" are merely dried small grapes; they are indigestible and should not be given to the sick.
Wash the grapes as soon as they come from the market, and put them in a cold place. At serving time fill either a grape goblet or an individual dessert plate with finely-shaved ice, put the bunch of grapes down into the ice, stand on a service plate and serve with them on the same tray a finger bowl partly filled with warm water.
Pick the quantity of ripe Catawba or Concord grapes from the stems, put them into the preserving kettle with water enough to prevent scorching, and stir and cook until soft. Mash them with a potato masher and put them into a jelly bag to drain over night. Next morning bring the juice to boiling point and skim. Have the bottles ready, cleaned, and clean corks. Fill the juice into the bottles, leaving a space at the necks; cork them tightly and drop them at once into a boiler of hot water. When the last bottle is in, cover the boiler and boil continuously for a half hour. Cool the bottles in the water, dip the corks in sealing wax and put them in a cool place for keeping.
Strain the juice according to preceding recipe; measure, and to each quart allow a half pint of sugar. Boil the juice, skim, add the sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved, bottle and finish as directed in preceding recipe.