One of the most popular berries, the grape is the fruit of flowering vine-like plants.
A Multitude Of Uses Throughout History
Grape cultivation began between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago in the Near East, which refers to Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Because yeast naturally occurs on the skins of grapes, it wasn’t long before people discovered alcoholic drinks, like wine.
The Biology Of The Grape
Typically purple or green in color, the grape grows on the vines of the flower plant genus Vitis.
Vitis includes 79 different species of vining plants and is the source for grapes both directly and for the production of wine.
These berries usually grow in clusters of between 15 and 30.
Sour And Sweet
While all grapes look roughly similar in shape, there are definitely some distinct differences in color, size, and flavor.
Usually, table grapes are of the green or purple variety and tend to be sweeter.
However, when it comes to the kinds of grapes that are used in the process of winemaking, there are a variety of flavors that range from sweet, to bitter, to sour.
A Wide Growing Range
Most of the grapes and wine that we consume today come from the Mediterranean and the Central Asia region.
However, there are several other places around the world, in which grapes can be used for both eating and winemaking, including:
- Vitis rotundifolia, or the muscadine grape. This grape is typically found anywhere from Delaware to the Gulf of Mexico and is used in both wine and jam.
- Vitis mustangenisis, or the mustang grape. This grape is usually found around Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
- Vitis riparia, a wild vine found throughout North America, though typically in the Eastern U.S. and north towards Canada. This wild grape can be sometimes used for wine and jam.
- Vitis amurensis, the most common grape found in Asia.
- Vitis labrusca, the most popular North American grape for juice and regular eating.
Grapes can be consumed in a variety of ways, depending on what they’re made into. They can be eaten raw or can be used for any number of jams, compotes, wines, or fruit salad dishes.
Creamy Grape Salad
One way to use grapes for an after-dinner treat is in a creamy grape salad. This easy-to-make recipe uses a combination of green and red grapes for a refreshing and sweet summer dessert.
A Long History Of Wine
Grapes – and wine – have long been of popular culture significance, going back as far as Ancient Greece and perhaps even further!
Both grapes and wine also hold significance and symbolism in Christianity, as communion wine is said to signify the blood of Christ.
Grapes And Health
In addition to being an easy snack, research has been done that suggests that moderate wine consumption and grape consumption can actually provide health benefits, specifically for the cardiovascular system.
Additionally, it’s thought that grape seeds may have potential anticancer effects.
A Fan Favorite
Throughout history, grapes have remained a staple of the dinner table and in several drinks! This multi-purpose berry is certainly notable – and very well-loved.