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Grapes

Grapes

Juices, wines, jams, jellies, raisins, fruit salads and more: Where would we be without grapes?

Nutritional Highlights

  • A ¾ cup (126 g) serving of grapes provides about 90 calories and is a good source of vitamin K, a nutrient that is vital for your blood's ability to clot properly.

History

The grape is one of humanity's all-time great fruits, and as such its history is lo-o-ong. People have been cultivating grapes to make wine since at least 4000 B.C.E. Even though there are several small-grape species indigenous to the Americas, Spanish explorers brought their own grapes with them, which is one reason why the U.S. enjoys so many different varieties today.

Varieties

Grapes are one of the most varied fruits in the world. Their hues include white, gold, green, red, blue, purple and even black. Grapes come in seeded and seedless varieties, and most of those cultivated in the U.S. are grown in California.

When are Grapes in Season?

Generally, grapes are a summer fruit, peaking between July and September but you can find them year round.

How to Choose Grapes

Good grapes are plump, firm and securely fixed to their stems. Try to select big, juicy-looking bunches. If grapes are broken, scarred, shriveled, brown or have dried-out stems, consider avoiding them for fresher bunches.

How to Store Grapes

The easiest way to store grapes is to place them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they'll keep for about a week. For those hot summer months, consider placing a few seedless grapes on a tray and freezing them. Not only do they last for months and taste like mini popsicles, but — if you peel them after they're frozen - they can be used as ice cubes in lemonade or fruit drinks.

How to Cook with Grapes

For the most part, you'll rarely actually "cook" grapes, in the sense of heating them up. Most recipes that call for grapes use them fresh, either whole, chopped or blended. To prepare grapes, begin by rinsing them under cold tap water. Pick them from their stems, being sure to pinch out any little stem pieces that cling inside a grape here and there. After that, have at it! If you're using seeded grapes, remove their seeds first. To do so, use a small paring knife to cut each grape in half, then scoop the seed out with the tip of the blade. Also, if you'd like to try your hand at drying your grapes into raisins, be sure to remove any seeds first and to use a food dehydrator, not the sun.

Key Measurements

Most grape-based recipes will call for them in cups.

Substitutions

It's hard to replace the taste and texture of a good grape, but blueberries get pretty close. Kiwifruit also makes an excellent swap-in, since it has a similar flavor and the bright green pulp characteristic of grapes.

Grapes in Recipes

A nice, cool Chicken-Fruit Salad tastes great with grapes and a sprig of mint.

Then there are Tangy Carrots with Grapes, a fun and bold side dish that uses balsamic vinaigrette and brown sugar as its secret weapons.

Finally, who can resist Dark Chocolate Fondue with grapes, kiwifruit, bananas and strawberries for dipping? ...Seriously, can anyone?

Related Recipes

Reviews & Comments

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