Black Grapes: Beyond the Basics
You may just think of grapes as simply green or red, but donâ€™t forget about the beautiful black grape, the most richly pigmented of all the types. Similar in flavor and color to a plum, the flesh on the inside is lightly colored and the flavor is mildly sweet.
How theyâ€™re grown:
- Black grapes are thought to originate from ancient Persia, primarily for use in fine wines. Today, they may be bred together with other varieties to increase their sweetness and overall flavor profile.
- Grapes grow on long, winding vines, which are often supported by trellises or other structures. Typically, wine grapes are grown outdoors, while â€śdessertâ€ť grapes are grown in a greenhouse environment.
- Grapes need lots of sunlight to ripen properly and need to be watered only in times of prolonged drought.
- Most U.S.-grown grapes are harvested in late summer, from August through October. In the southern hemisphere, harvesting occurs from February through April.
How to shop for them:
- Choose grapes that look plump and firm, not wrinkled.
- Grapes should be firmly attached to their stems, which should be firm and pliable.
How to store them:
- Store grapes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Make sure air can circulate freely around the grapes to extend shelf life.
- Avoid storing them near foods with strong odors, like onion and garlic.
How to prepare them:
- Wash grapes in a colander under cold running water right before eating.
Ways to eat them:
- Make a cheese and grape plate that resembles a sunflower. Place long, thin triangles of cheese around a pile of black grapes.
- Try a new take on dessert by making grape poppers. Stick a toothpick in the top of each grape, dip in melted white chocolate and coat with chopped nuts.
- Make a â€śblack and blueâ€ť smoothie with ÂĽ cup blueberries, ÂĽ cup black grapes, 1 banana and Â˝ cup vanilla yogurt.
- Add halved black grapes to chicken salad for an extra serving of fruit.
- Shake up your typical corn and black bean salad with the addition of a spicy and sweet combo: minced jalapenos and halved black grapes.
- Use alongside blackberries to make a black sangria.
- Grapes contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that may help to protect cells from damage.
- Black grapes are naturally gluten-free, low in sodium and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat.