Grapes –red, blue or white – they taste great and have a high nutritional value
The combination of crunchy texture and dry, sweet, tart flavour has made grapes an ever popular between-meal snack as well as a refreshing addition to both fruit and vegetable salads.
A grape is the fruit that grows on a woody vine. The grapevine belongs to the family Vitaceae. Grapes grow in clusters of six to 300 and can be black, blue, golden, green, purple, red, pink, brown, peach or white. They can be eaten raw or used for making jam, grape juice, jelly, wine and grape seed oil. Raisins are the dried fruit of the grapevine, and the name actually comes from the French word for “grape”. Wild grapevines are often considered a nuisance weed, as they cover other plants with their usually rather aggressive growth.
The two types of grape species grown in the United States are the Native American and the European. Even though early Americans grafted European varieties to the hardier Native American rootstocks, the table grapes we see today are direct descendants of European varieties. There are an estimated 10,000 varieties of the European species, but only a dozen or so are imported as table grapes.
Grapes were cultivated 6,000 years ago in Europe. There are over 60 varieties of grapes that are cultivated for wine making and over 50 varieties are in current production as table grapes. Over 200 years ago, Franciscan monks brought grapes to California for the purpose of making sacramental wine.
Grapes may be classified as red, blue and white, which are actually pale green in colour. Each kind has its own particular character for wine making and as a table grape. Grapes, like fruit trees, require a stable climate in order to provide a dependable growing environment.
Grapes are excellent sources of manganese and good sources of vitamin B6, thiamine (vitamin B1), potassium, and vitamin C. In addition, grapes contain flavonoids: phytochemicals that are antioxidant compounds.
They are high in iron and a good blood builder. Grapes are wonderful for promoting action of the bowel, cleansing the liver and aiding the kidney function. They even soothe the nervous system.
Black and white grape saladIngredients
Seedless black grapes: 2
Sour cream: quarter cup
Cinnamon: 2 tbsp
Brown sugar: 2 tbsp
Powdered sugar: 2 tbsp
Method: In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise and cinnamon. Add two tablespoons of each sugar to the mix. If the grapes are not as sweet as you desire, add the remaining sugar. Cut the grapes into halves and add to the dressing, stirring gently to coat the grapes.
Refrigerate covered until chilled. Serve in parfait cups and garnish with mint for a beautiful, fancy dessert.