When it comes to fruit, one thing is certain: men, women, and children have eaten grapes for thousands of years. Grapes are berries and though they are enjoyed in jellies and jams, grapes were grown as food dating back 6,000 years.
There are many varieties of grapes and each is enjoyed for different reasons and benefits. One of the oldest uses of grapes is in wine, but the fruit is delicious eaten straight off the vine. Several popular ways to enjoy grapes are in the form of grape juice and as raisins.
The top four countries that grow the greatest amounts of grapes include France, Italy, Spain, and the United States of America.
The ancient world enjoyed grapes in the form of wine. The first record of wine is from Armenia, in 4000 B.C. History continues to show that wine was a popular drink throughout the Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Grapes and wine became one of the earliest trades and in 1700 B.C.; the Babylonian King Hammurabi set rules for trading wine. The grapevine spread from the area of Asia Minor known as the Fertile Crescent to Italy, Greece, Spain, and France.
The grapevine then spread throughout Europe and was grown in Germany and by the Middle Ages, the wine was used in a variety of religious services. The grapevine has become one of the most important fruit crops grown worldwide. In the United States, California grows or cultivates more grapes than any other state.
- Grapes from California History
- Florida Grape History Timeline (PDF)
- History of Grapes: Stone Age Wine (PDF)
Types of Grapes
Grapes are used in a number of different ways and many uses of grapes depend upon the type of grape grown. Grapes are eaten fresh, dried, in juice, and the oil is used for health products. Grapes are also the main ingredient in wine. Grapes are classified by their different colors. There are green, red, ruby, and blue-black grapes. Green grapes are Perlette and Thompson Seedless. Red grapes include Flame and Ruby. Blue-black grapes include Fantasy and Exotic.
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Grapes are known for many health benefits and are a super fruit or superfood. Approximately 1 ½ cups of grapes contains about 90 calories with only 10 of those calories coming from fat. They are relatively high in carbohydrates due to sugar and have 24 grams of carbs. Grapes have a small amount of Vitamin A, which is 2% of the daily recommended allowance. They also have 2% iron and calcium. Grapes are higher in Vitamin C and 1 ½ cups has 25% of the daily allowance.
- Grapes Nutritional Value
- Healthy and Sustainable Foods Grapes
- The Power of the Grape (PDF)
- Fruits and Vegetables with Calories and Fiber (PDF)
- Concord Grape Super Fruit
Grapes are grown and eaten in a variety of different forms. Popular uses for grapes include eating them whole, dried as raisins, liquefied as grape juice, in jellies and jams. Every part of the grape has its use and benefits. Grape skins are used for their essential oils. Grape seeds contain special fat based oils and grape seed oil is used as a healthy nutrient. Grape leaves have been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. One of the greatest productions of grapes is in the use of wine.
Yummy Snack Ideas
Because grapes are easy to handle and eat, they are a great ingredient for many kid recipes. You can eat grapes with cheese slices or pop them off the vine and eat them singly. You can mix grapes with other fruits for an easy and instant fruit salad. Grapes can be combined with sugar and heated to make jelly and jam. There are uncooked grape jam recipes that use pectin instead of heat. Uncooked jams must be stored in the refrigerator. Some recipes use grape juice, rather than whole, fresh grapes, while other recipes may call for grapes in the form of raisins
- Grape Recipes: Preserve the Harvest (PDF)
- Uncooked Jams
- Grape Sourdough Starter
- Fruity Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Jelly and Jam Recipes
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