Grape is a kind of berry fruit that grows on vines. The grape belongs to the genus vitis. This is a fruit that is sweet in taste and contains very low calories. Usually, grapes grow in clusters and available in green, black, crimson and yellow colors. Grape is used in various grape recipes such as grape wine, grape juice and grape jam. All these grape dishes are quiet popular in global cuisine.
History of Grape
Purple Grape was first domesticated in Turkey. Purple grapes were also cultivated in ancient Greek and Rome, where the main use of grapes was wine making. In Europe and in Northern regions of Africa and America the popularity of grapes has been spread at later stage.
Culinary Use of Grapes
Grape is a fruit that can be eaten raw or used in cooking. The most popular use of grapes is to make wine. A microorganism called yeast is present on grape skin since the time of growth and this leads grapes to ferment its juice in order to make wine. Almost all fine brands of wine are made with grapes. Grapes are also dries to form raisins. Raisin is widely used in making sweet and savory dishes. Though grape is a small fruit it’s very juicy and pulpy, hence grape juice is extracted for adding in various grape recipes. Grape juice can be added to various cocktails and other beverages. Jams, sauces and jellies are some of the most popular grape recipes throughout the world. Some kind of vinegar is also made with grapes. While making wine, a by-product is obtained that is called ‘grape seed oil’. This oil is basically used as a vegetable oil while cooking. In several desserts and puddings, grape is used as a topping or garnish. In many confectionery items, grapes are fondly used.
Popular Grape Recipes
• Grape salad – Grape salad is a very popular dish throughout the world. This dish includes mainly purple grapes.
• Meatballs in honey grape sauce – This is a popular savory grape dish that is quiet famous in American cuisine.
• Grape wine – This is one of the most popular grape recipes across the world. Grape wine making includes fermentation of grape juice for several months.
• Grape jam – Jam is used as a spread on toast in breakfast.
Cuisines Commonly Making Grape Dishes
Grape recipes are quiet popular in American cuisine as well as in Spanish cuisine. North Americans are fond of eating grape jams, jellies and spreads. Cakes, pastries and desserts containing grapes and raisins are favorite grape dishes in American cuisine. North African as well as European cuisines also make most out of grapes. Grape wines are popular all over the world and served as liquor. Many savory dishes such as met and chicken dishes made in grape sauce are fondly eaten in these cuisines. Grape jellies, sauces and juice are popular grape recipes in almost all cuisines.
Preferred Methods of Making Grape Dishes
• Boiled – Grape jams and jellies involve boiling of grape pulp or juice.
• Fermented – Grape wine is made with this method and that is also without any artificial yeast.
• Baked – Dries form of grape is raisin and it is commonly used in baked items such as cakes, muffins and pies.
• Simmered – Grape sauce is cooked while simmering the grape juice with other ingredients.
• Extracted – Grape juice and grape seed oil is extracted from the fruit.
• Dressed – Grape juice is often used as a salad dressing.
Nutritive Value of Grapes
Grape is a light and appetizing fruit with very few calories. Grapes contain lots of potassium but very few minerals and vitamins. Grapes dishes are full of vitamin C hence should be consumed in abundance. Red and black varieties of grapes contain bioflavonoid that protects the body against certain type of cancers and heart diseases.
Consumption Criteria of Grapes
The polyphenols and tannins are present in red grapes that may trigger migraines in some susceptible persons. Many contaminants are also present on the skins of the grapes such as yeast, moulds and air-borne pollutants, as well as pesticide residues. It is important to wash grapes thoroughly before eating them.
Buying and Storing of Grapes
Grapes are available in bunch, hence always select fresh looking bunch with green stems. The firm and tightly attached grapes are always high-quality grapes with fresh taste. The skins of grapes should be intact and no mushy spots should be present on the skins while buying. Sticky and wrinkled skin is the sign of over ripe and dried grapes. Stale and over-ripe grapes also spoil the taste of grape dishes, hence they should be avoided. Grapes should always be stored in refrigerator as warm conditions may lead them to ripe and ferment. In refrigerator grapes can be kept for up to 1 week. It is better to keep the grapes along with stems and should be separated at the time of eating only.
Types of Grapes
Grapes are classified according to the wine making. Both red wine and white wine-making grapes are different and having different characteristics. Here are some popular varieties of grapes:
• Chardonnay – This variety is used for making finest white wines.
• Chenin Blanc – This type of grape is quiet famous in France and used for making white wine.
• Muscat – It is a very popular European grape.
• Riesling – It is little difficult to grow this variety of grape but it is popular in Germany and France.
• Gamay – This grape is famous for producing red wines in France.
• Merlot – It produces deep-red wines with chocolaty flavor.
• Syrah – a very popular grape, used to produce red wines in France and Australia.
Apart from these varieties, grapes have several other varieties that are widely used in making wines and other popular grape dishes.
• Grape contains 80% of water.
• Around 2 ½ pounds of grapes are used to make a single wine bottle.