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Grape (Vitis Vinifera) the common grape vine is a hardy one. Botanically, a pulpy fruit containing 2-4 usually pear-shaped seeds, however, some seedless ones have been developed.  The size of the fruit and the color vary considerably according to species and variety.

There are four main groups of grapes: namely wine, table or dessert, dried and juice. The same grape may be in more than one or in all groups.  All wine grapes can be eaten.

The skin is divided into two colors 'black ' and 'white', but these vary from deep-purple, red purple, sometimes blue, pale green, apple green, light amber to almost white. The textures of the skin vary from smooth, a little waxy, while others will be 'bloomy'.  

Nutritional Value
Grapes contain some vitamin C and A, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and thiamine.  Low in sodium and high in energy through natural sugar and liquid.

  • Select bunches firmly attached to stem that are plump, well-formed and look good.  
  • Color is a good guide to ripeness. The darker varieties should be free or any green tinge, while white grapes should have amber coloring when completely matured.  
  • Fully ripened grapes are fairly soft to the touch and tender to taste.  Grapes will not improve once picked, so do the ‘taste test.’
  • Do not buy sticky soft, or wrinkled grapes which show the effects of freezing and drying.  
  • Grapes with dry or brittle stems or bleached areas around the stem end indicate injury and poor quality.  Leaking berries are a sign of decay.   
  • Keep in cool place, as grapes are highly perishable and should be handled carefully.  
  • Use them quickly, otherwise store in refrigerator in vegetable crisper. Eat within 3-5 days. 

Prepare, Use and Serve
Wash only when ready to use.  Cut into small clusters if serving with a cheese platter or as garnishes.  Remove all stems and seed if placing in salads, fruit cups, desserts or for cooking. 

Some recipes even call for peeled grapes.   Grapes will peel easily from stem end if ripe.  Remove seeds by cutting in half and removing with a small knife.  Otherwise use seedless grapes for recipes.

Generally, grapes are eaten fresh, either by themselves or with other fruit or cheese but can be baked, made into sauces, jam, juice, preserves, glaced, and serve with other vegetables, garnishes and wine.  


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