In the Spotlight

Grape Recipes & Info

By Pam Aughe, R.D. | October 24, 2017
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Discover | More than 15,000 acres of grapes are grown right here in Michigan, making it the fourth largest grape-growing state in the nation. Cool breezes off the lakes and moderate evening temperatures create the ideal growing conditions that have supported a strong grape industry for more than a century. The purple Concord and white Niagara grape varieties are the predominant crops used for juice and jelly. Fewer acres of grapes are grown for wine production with varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Vidal.

Taste | Grapes grow in clusters on a vine in richly colored green, red or blue-black hues. Fully colored grapes have the most complete flavor, ranging from delicate and sweet to earthy and spicy. Freshly picked grapes are covered by a protective, whitish coating called a bloom, just like plums. This safe, naturally occurring substance protects grapes from moisture loss and microorganisms and should be rinsed off before eating. Grapes are delicious in salads, chutney, soups, cakes, pies, ice creams, juices or jellies and also as a refreshing snack all on their own.

Fortify | Grapes maintain health and prevent illness with a chemical compound called resveratrol. Found naturally in the skin of grapes, resveratrol acts as an antioxidant for body cells to support heart health, reduce or prevent cancer and improve neurological function. Grapes also contain flavonoids—plant nutrients found in all parts of the grape—that also act as an antioxidant. The most concentrated nutritional benefit is found in freshly picked grapes, grape juice and wine. Concord grape juice contains more than twice the antioxidant power of orange juice and nearly six times the amount found in 100 percent apple juice.

Preserve | Harvest grapes from late August through early October. Store freshly picked, unwashed grapes in a vented plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel for up to one week in the refrigerator. Grapes naturally ferment at room temperature, causing a loss of texture and flavor. The area around the stems deteriorates first, so be sure to choose grapes with green and pliable stems that have firmly attached fruit. Always rinse well under cool, running water just before serving.

Article from Edible WOW at
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