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Grapes

Everyday Food, Volume 15 September 2004

The most cultivated of all berries, grapes are used mainly to make wine and raisins, but they're also eaten fresh, made into jams and jellies, and they add a sweet flavor to many dishes.

Types of Grapes
They come in green (also called white), red, and blue-black, and in thousands of varieties. Here are a few that are used commercially. For eating fresh, green seedless Thompson and Red Flame (both firm and mild) are among the most common. Muscat (sweet and fragrant, greenish gold) are frequently used for making wine and raisins; Zante (blue-black, tiny, and seedless), for making dried currants; and sweet-tart, blue-black Concord grapes are used mostly to make juice, jams, and jellies.

How to Buy
Grapes should be plump, with smooth unbroken skins, and be firmly attached to the stems. The green ones are at their sweetest when they have a pale-yellow hue. Often, grapes are covered with a whitish "bloom," which is a natural protection against loss of moisture and spoilage.

How to Store
Discard damaged grapes, place bunch in a plastic bag, and refrigerate up to three days. To avoid destroying the bloom, rinse just before using.

Grape Ideas
Grapes, like other fruit, can be added to many types of dishes, sweet and savory. Here are a few ways to use grapes to make healthy snacks and starters.

Mozzarella and Grape Skewers
Thread seedless grapes, bocconcini (mozzarella balls), and sliced prosciutto on wooden skewers.

Peanut Butter and Grapes
Spread a toasted English muffin half with peanut butter, and top with slivered seedless grapes. You can also use whole-grain sandwich bread or crackers.

Yogurt with Oranges and Grapes
Top plain yogurt with orange segments, sliced seedless grapes, and chopped pistachios (or other nuts).

Arugula Salad with Grapes
Toss arugula with crumbled blue cheese, halved seedless grapes, and your favorite vinaigrette.

Frozen Grapes
For a quick, refreshing snack, freeze grapes until solid, about three hours.