Grown in most countries of the world, grapes grow as 60 species, and these breakdown into over 8,000 more varieties. They mature in clusters of 20 to hundreds, in a rainbow of colors – black, orange blue, yellow, green, pink, even purple.
We tend to take grapes for granted. We eat them out-of-hand, make wine, jam, juice, jelly, vinegar and grape seed oil from them. Another grape, the blue/black Concord grape sets itself apart in color and taste from other grapes. We call all these table grapes.
Then, if we dry grapes we get something else we tend to take for granted: brown raisins from red grapes; blonde sultana raisins from white grapes which are really light-green in color. And, the smaller black Corinthian “raisins” are really currants.
A third grape division is wine grapes which tend to be smaller and sweeter. They also tend to have a thicker skin, a trait favorable for tasty wine-making. About a quarter of the grapes consumed in the U.S. are grown in Chile, in addition to California’s over 300,000 tons each year.
Spanish explorers are said to have introduced grapes to North America about 300 years ago. Earliest evidence of grapes goes back to Asia in 5000, and they figured prominently in biblical times.
Grapes are low in calories and valued for their supplies of vitamins K, C and antioxidants. Most of their nutriments are in their skin, and cooking fresh grapes diminishes this.
Plump, firmly attached to their vine, grapes make good snacking. Place grapes in a paper towel and place in a plastic container in the refrigerator. This will insure their longest shelf life.
One way to help predict their taste:
Red considered sweetest
White (light green) medium sweet
Blueish, black grapes least sweet
Do not wash grapes until just before eating.
Lunch boxes/office food
Cheese & cracker accompaniment
Below are foodsites with recipes using grapes.