Grape Food Facts
The combination of crunchy texture and dry, sweet, tart flavor has made grapes an ever popular between meal snack as well as a refreshing addition to both fruit and vegetable salads. American varieties are available in September and October while European varieties are available year round.
Grapes contain beneficial compounds called flavonoids, which are phytonutrients that give the vibrant purple color to grapes, grape juice and red wine; the stronger the color, the higher the concentration of flavonoids.
There are three main species of grapes:
- European grapes (Vitis vinifera):
Varieties include Thompson (seedless and amber-green in color), Emperor (seeded and purple in color) and Champagne/Black Corinth (tiny in size and purple in color). European varieties feature skins that adhere closely to their flesh.
- North American grapes (Vitis labrusca and Vitis rotundifolia):
Varieties include Concord (blue-black in color and large in size), Delaware (pink-red in color with a tender skin) and Niagara (amber colored and less sweet than other varieties). North American varieties feature skins that more easily slip away from their flesh.
- French hybrids:
These were developed from the vinifera grapes after the majority of grape varieties were destroyed in Europe in the 19th century.
Grapes should be plump and firmly attached to a green stem. Good color for type of grape, not faded. Grapes do not ripen off the vine, so be certain that they are ripe when chosen. Buy a small quantity and taste. When refrigerated, grapes will last five to seven days.
All grapes are really berries and are native to Asia Minor where they were cultivated for 6000 years. Grapes are now grown on six continents.
California produces 97 percent and Arizona produces 3 percent of all European varieties grown in the United States.
Try to use seedless grapes in your recipes whenever possible. You will find them much more pleasant to eat
Safety: If you are drinking grape juice for health benefits, avoid products labeled as grape "drinks." This is often an imitation high-sugar product with little real grape juice.