Grapes have been around for a very long time. In fact, the intentional growing of grapes began 6,000–8,000 years ago in what is now considered the Middle East. Many grapes are developed and used for wine production—a practice that is also thousands of years old—while other varieties, generally referred to as “table grapes” have been selectively bred to be consumed raw and used in recipes. Table grapes tend to be larger in size and have somewhat thinner skins. Many are seedless.
Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets always carries a variety of fresh table grapes at each of our seven locations. Right now we have an excellent variety of black seedless grape called Midnight Beauty® from our friends at Sun World, a quality grower in California. They describe their Midnight Beauty® brand grape as large, crisp and bursting with sweet flavor. As grapes go, this really is an attractive fruit.
But don’t let that sweet flavor fool you. A cup and a half of these delicious grapes packs only 90 calories, in addition to healthy antioxidant plant substances like polyphenols, resveratrol, and flavonoids. Grapes are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
When selecting grapes, look for clusters of firm, plump fruit with full color. Wet, shriveled or moldy berries should be avoided, but grapes covered with “bloom” are perfectly fine. Bloom is a naturally occurring white substance that coats the outside of the grapes, protecting them from moisture loss and decay. It’s safe to eat, but can easily be removed during washing by rubbing them with a bit of baking soda or salt. Then rinse the grapes under cool, running water for at least 30 seconds. Speaking of washing, it’s best to store grapes unwashed in their original container and then wash them before consuming. Always check for grapes that are broken or show signs of decay—before. during, and after storage—and remove them at once.
Midnight Beauty® black seedless grapes can be eaten fresh or used in a variety of recipes. Have you ever made a fruit pizza? The folks at Sun World created this how-to video, which we thought you might enjoy.
Midnight Beauty® black seedless grapes from Sun World are generally available from June through September, so get yours while they last!