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Grapes

All About Grapes


The grape is one of the oldest and most widespread fruits in the world. Certain studies document grapes being cultivated in Asia Minor some 7,000 years ago and discoveries in Egyptian tombs attest to the fact that the grape was being cultivated along the Nile over 4,000 years ago.

The grape is the main ingredient in wine as well as in many other alcoholic beverages such as Armagnac, cognac and port. The Greeks, Romans and then the Gauls enhanced the winemaking process by selecting and growing species of grapes that were most likely to produce the best wines.


Characteristics

The grape is a berry that grows in clusters on woody vines. Round and slightly elongated, the grape is more or less fleshy, depending on the species. Grapes vary in colour from green or greenish-yellow to red, blue or blue-black. The pulp or flesh is juicy and sweet, and may have seeds or be seedless depending on the variety.

Grapes are categorized according to their use: table grapes or pastry and cooking grapes, wine grapes and grapes for raisin production.

Supermarkets carry black grapes from the United States, with thick flesh and a fine taste; red grapes, such as Flame and Red Globe, that are crunchy, tasty and have big seeds; and green Thompson grapes, which are very popular, sweet, juicy and usually seedless, depending on the variety.


Culinary tips and advice

  • Choose firm and richly coloured grapes with no bruises or mould.
  • Green grapes are sweeter if they have yellow spots.
  • Since they’re generally treated with chemical products, grapes should be washed carefully before use.
  • For more flavour, leave refrigerated grapes at room temperature for fifteen minutes before eating.
  • Grapes are delicious plain, cooked, dehydrated or in juice.
  • They can be added to fruit salads, pies and marmalades.
  • In pastry making, grapes can easily replace apples.
  • Grapes can be used in sauces, stuffing, curries and stews.
  • They complement poultry, game, fish and seafood very well.
  • Fresh grapes put in the freezer for a short time serve as delicious ice cubes for cocktails.

Expert tip

Instead of removing grapes from the cluster to eat, simply cut a complete branch with scissors. This will prevent the stalks from dehydrating and keep the remaining clusters fresh.


Availability

Grapes are available year-round in Metro supermarkets. Selection depends on varieties and seasons.

Nutritional value

The grape is a good source of potassium and contains vitamin C, thiamine and vitamin B6.

Storage

If left at room temperature, grapes will dry out and ferment. They will keep for several days stored in the refrigerator, covered with a paper towel and placed in a perforated plastic bag.



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