Grateful for Grapes
Red or green, the grape has a long and storied history. In fact, the Bible says that Noah planted a grape vineyard, and the fruit was a known favorite of ancient and prosperous peoples, such as the Greeks and Romans. No wonder that having someone feed you a bunch of juicy grapes has become a symbol of prosperity and pampering!
Health Benefits. Recent studies indicate that eating fresh grapes may prevent the accumulation of harmful oxidized cholesterol, as well as the development of heart disease. The naturally occurring antioxidants found in grapes are thought to be responsible for these health benefits.
Fruit Varieties. Among the many types of grapes are table grapes, raisin grapes, sweet juice grapes and wine grapes. Each variety has its own properties and limitations, which is why there is no such thing as an all-purpose grape. It has been said that a grape is ripe when it has reached the stage best suited for the use to which it is to be put. When buying grapes to eat raw, select fruit that is fully ripe and still firm.
Using the Fruit. The fruit is not the only part of the grape that is edible. The leaves can be stuffed or wrapped around meat or veggie fillings; grape seeds can be pressed commercially for their oil and are great as a coating for certain French cheeses; even the crystals that form in grape juice are used to produce what is known as cream of tartar. Raw grapes also make a unique topping for salads: slice and seed the grapes and add them to sliced cucumbers and chopped mint or chives.
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