Sweet, crunchy, juicy and one of the most versatile fruits around. You guessed it. Grapes! They’re available year-round from different origins, but from December into May, you can look to Chile for a bountiful supply of this popular fruit.
Grapes were first introduced by Spain more than 300 years ago and they have grown to become one of the world’s top ten favorite fruits, along with tomatoes, mangos and bananas. You’ll NEVER guess the enormous volume of grapes produced around the world each year. 72 million tons! The average consumer eats about 3.6 kg annually. There are more than 8,000 grape varieties from about 60 species, but to most of us, there are just 3 kinds: green, red and black!
Regardless which grape you prefer, they’re all packed with nutrition. The health benefits of grapes are numerous, and since ancient times, grapes have been thought to have healing properties. In China, wine was mixed with frogs, snakes and other animals to cure a number of illnesses! One cup of grapes, with about 100 calories, provides more than a quarter of the daily recommended values of vitamins K and C. Grapes help minimize the risk of heart attacks because they increase the levels of nitric acid in the blood, which prevents blood clots. They’re also 80% water, so they make a great low calorie snack. Just don’t overdo it…grapes can be a laxative if you eat too many!
The ways to enjoy grapes are countless. Just rinse and pack for work or school. For an easy snack that even the kids can help make, thread grapes and cheese cubes onto pretzels or toothpicks. Frozen grapes are always a refreshing treat, and you can even add a few to a glass of wine to keep if chilled! Finally, change things up by adding sliced grapes to salsa, a grilled cheese sandwich or your favorite grain salad. Just a nice little addition of texture and sweetness.
Be on the lookout for an incredibly unique grape variety from Chile, the Muscat grape. Muscats have a flavor and color that sets them apart from other grapes. Possessing a delicate, pleasant, musky floral taste, the color of the Muscat grape varies from rosy pink with a green background to golden-yellow.
For more fabulous ideas on how to incorporate grapes into your daily diet, go to fruitsfromchile.com