Have you ever driven past a vineyard out in the country and rolled your window down just in time to tease your nose with all the different fragrances? There’s nothing quite like it, with the grapes’ ripening aroma meeting the fresh cool air.
While the smell can be intoxicating, their taste can be just as equally so, especially in a delicious bottle of wine. Grapes: everything you need to know.
Grapes also go on to make several different mouth-watering jellies, jams, and preserves that go perfectly on a slice of warm buttered bread. You probably enjoy them in a handful of other ways, but are you aware of the health benefits that they bring. Here’s more on grapes and everything you need to know.
Grapes: Everything You Need to Know
Grapes are a part of the Vitaceae family and happen to be one of the first cultivated plants on the planet. It’s a berry that comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can find them in green, purple, black, pink, yellow, white, green, and even dark blue.
Unlike bananas, grapes don’t make their way into the grocery store until they are fully ripened. You can expect them to be in season in the northern hemisphere during the months of June through October.
Grapes have been around for at least 6,000 to 8,000 years. There’s evidence of them being eaten or used for wine on Egyptian hieroglyphs. Several other ancient people also grew purple grapes, including the Greeks, the Romans, and the Phonecians.
The typical grapevine produces around 40 clusters of grapes, and cling to surrounding objects to support the growth of the plant.
The toxicity that is present in a grape makes them very harmful for dogs, and in some cases fatal.
The world takes grape production very seriously, with over 25 million acres of land that are used as vineyards. It is estimated that around 72 million tons of grapes are produced each year, where 71% are turned into wine, 27% are sold as fresh fruit, while around 2% are made into raisins.
Can you believe there are over 10,000 different varieties of grapes that come from 60 different species? And to think that you’ve only seen a handful of them. Let’s take a look at a few of the common ones.
Seeded grapes are slightly healthier for you than seedless grapes, but only if you eat the seeds along with the fruit. That’s because the seeds themselves contain extra healthy fats and other nutrients.
Most of us prefer eating our grapes without the seeds, but do you know what causes them not to have seeds? We get unseeded grapes from what is called the cloning process.
Instead of planting a grape seed, a different part of the plant is planted and produces another grape plant.
A mutation has occurred and the grapes no longer contain seeds. Then a part of that plant is used to make another grape plant that also does not have seeds.
The North American grape can be grown in much cooler temperatures and has a stronger grape flavor. The skin comes off pretty easily, which is why it’s considered a “slip skin.”
European grapes need warmer temperatures to grow and produce a sweeter flavor, perfect for making wine. The skin on them is much tighter than that of the North American grape.
Table grapes can be baked, or eaten fresh.
Wine grapes are grown for one purpose. To make wine. Most of the grapes in the world are made for the fermentation of wine.
Grapes have a fairly high amount of calories and carbs, so it’s important that you watch your intake. Eating too many for an extended period of time may cause you to gain weight. These delicious berries also contain fiber, potassium, Vitamins B6, C, and K. All of these together help you with several different health benefits.
May Help Prevent Different Cancers
Healthy foods like grapes have been found to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, especially colon cancer. Grapes contain certain compounds, with one of them being Resveratrol. This compound helps reduce inflammation and helps to block the growth of cancer cells in our bodies.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Grapes have potassium in them, which helps to maintain good blood pressure levels. Eating foods that are higher in potassium may reduce the chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, or a stroke.
May Help to Lower Cholesterol
Studies have been done that showed people who consumed red grapes for eight weeks, were shown to have fewer bad LDL cholesterol. Green grapes did not work as effectively.
Helps People who Struggle with Diabetes
While grapes do contain high amounts of sugar, leaving you scratching your head about how they can help people with diabetes, the compounds in them help reduce your blood sugar levels.
The presence of resveratrol (mentioned earlier) also helps increase insulin sensitivity and helps your body use glucose more efficiently. By managing your blood sugar levels, grapes can reduce the risk of diabetes.
Help with Memory, Mood, and Attention
As many times as resveratrol has been mentioned, you can see that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The compound also works to improve learning skills, such as attention and memory skills. You may notice an improvement in your mood, and grapes may help promote longevity as well.
Protects against Bacteria, Infections, and Viruses
Grapes also contain vitamin C and several other compounds that work to not only improve and strengthen our immune systems, but also keep away viral infections like the flu, chickenpox, and yeast infections.
How to Store Grapes
Make sure that you don’t wash your grapes until you are ready to eat them. Moisture can cause the grapes to spoil faster. You can store your grapes in the refrigerator this way for about a week.
Have you ever enjoyed your grapes frozen? Trust me, they’re delicious! If you have grapes that are about to go bad, go ahead and wash them and place them on a baking sheet that has parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the sheet. Then put them in the freezer and get them out whenever you’re needing a yummy snack. When ready to eat, pull them out and put them into an airtight container.
Grapes are more than just tasty berries that can be enjoyed in a number of ways. They also have several important vitamins and compounds that go on to improve our overall health.
What’s your number one favorite way of enjoying them? What’s your favorite part about grapes: everything you need to know? Stay well, and keep prepping. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Grapes Deposit photos_30875809_s-2019, Grapes in baskets Deposit photos_31713057_s-2019