Grape juice or ‘Assir al ‘inab is family favourite especially during summer when grapes are quite abundant that they’re hanging in many “Arssas” and “Jnanates” (sort of orchards) and they’re easy to grab. Their ” Dalias” are sometimes covering the main entrance to many old houses.
I do remember my summer holidays in Fez where many families had them growing in their gardens. We actually used to sit under a “ceiling of grapes” as it protects us from the heat.
Most of the grapes in Morocco are sweet with seeds but we had one version called “Muscats” which was tiny small, sweet and seedless. That was my dad’s favourite.
In the hot summer days, whether in Fez with the rest of the family or in our house in Casablanca, you would always find bottles of grape juice in the fridge, especially during mid-days. The juice differs in colour depending on the grapes used or the mix used for that matter.
|Loads of tasty grapes, hanging at my aunty’s house,
sold in the markets or just in my plate
The other widely available fruits during summer season would be the ultra sweet red watermelons but other sorts of melon. Since these fruits were in their right season, their smell and there sweetness was out of this world. They’re also ridiculously cheap.
Of course I wouldn’t forget the prickly pears which are also left in the fridge (peeled) to be enjoyed after lunch..
Some go for the fragrant and juicy peaches and nectarines which comes in different sizes and varieties. I personally love the ones from Meknes or Imouzer/Ifrane area. You could make a Moroccan favourite juice with these two just by adding lemon juice, bananas (optional) and dates.
Oh! I was going to forget the utterly sweet fresh figs, purple or green, with a honey-like inside and a soft outside..These were also available in many gardens but for those who don’t have the trees, the market is there to but them by the bucket for next to nothing.
Of course there is plums, mzah or nefle (Medlars), pears and apples from Imouzer. On a sad note though, the previously abundant apricots are less and less available and with such a poor quality that they don’t come close to the ones we grew up eating and turning to jams..
Well, wonderful memories I just got coming back while writing this long introduction, which reminds me that I have to go back to my quick recipe of grape juice..
Prep: 3 min
- 500g of fresh sweet organic grapes (any colour, you could also mix)
- Enough cold water to cover the grapes in the blender
- Sugar to taste (for sweet grapes, you hardly need a tablespoon)
- 1 tsp of orange blossom water
- Ice cubes for seving
- Leave the grapes in water for about 20 minutes. Wash thoroughly and pick the grapes one by one. Set aside.
- Transfer the grapes to a blender/liquidizer. Top up with water just to cover the fruit. Add sugar and orange blossom water (optional). Blend for 30 seconds.
- Place a sieve over a large bowl and strain. With the back of your hand or a ladle, squeeze the bits to the last drop. Discard the bits.
- Transfer the juice into a jug or a bottle and place into the fridge.
- Serve cold within the first 24 hours.