If you’re a fan of fruit, you’ve probably had your fair share of grapes. They’re plump, juicy and naturally sweet, which may explain why they’re one of America’s best-selling fruits. Plus, they’re extremely versatile—able to shine in both sweet and savory dishes. But before you dive into one of our gorgeous grape recipes, let’s learn a little bit more about the grape varieties you may find at the store.
Types of Grapes
You probably think of grapes as red, green or black, but more formally they’re categorized into three major groups: table, juice and wine.
- Table grapes have thin skins, are ideal for snacking and are best consumed when fresh. Fold them into this supreme salad!
- Juice grapes have a thick skin that peels off very easily. They’re most commonly used for jelly or jam.
- Wine grapes are best for—what else?—making wine. They are extremely sweet (sweeter than table grapes), have a thick skin and contain an abundance of seeds. We bet you have a bottle or two of this grape product on hand. Learn what food to pair it with, here.
Breaking it down even further, there are more than 85 varieties of grapes grown in California alone. Who knew? Here are some of the most popular ones and their defining traits.
- Thompson seedless: green, fairly big, perfect for raisins
- Flame seedless: red, round, crunchy
- Concord: dark purple, round, bold grape flavor
- Ruby seedless: deep red, oval, juicy
- Moon Drop: almost black, long in length, crisp, sweet
- Cotton Candy: green, oval, sweet, candylike (get more details!)
How to Pick the Best Ones
Before you place any container of grapes into your grocery cart, keep an eye out for a few specific characteristics to ensure you’re getting the best-tasting ones. Choose grapes that are plump with a consistent color and green stems. After purchasing, be sure to keep them in the refrigerator. They’ll remain fresh up to 10 days in a container with good circulation. They also store well in the freezer and make a refreshing frozen treat.
Psst! When frozen, many grapes taste exactly like Popsicles, but are much healthier without the added sugar. They also make a smart replacement for ice, as they won’t dilute your drink. You’ll definitely win hostess points for that one! Learn more genius ways to serve grapes, here.
Grapes in Savory Dishes
Grapes taste great in hearty, meat-based dishes as they provide a strong contrast in flavor. If you’re a fan of sweet and salty flavors, try these recipes.
Grapes in Sweet Dishes
Grapes add a burst of juicy, fresh flavor to every dish. While blueberries, cherries and strawberries are go-to ingredients for pies and parfaits and as toppings, we recommend replacing them with grapes for a little variety that will totally surprise you and your guests. Here are our favorite recipes:
By now, you’re a grape expert, so go ahead and share this knowledge (and a yummy grape recipe!) with friends and family.
Hungry for more fruitful tidbits? George Washington and the cherry tree may be a lie, but these cherry facts are full of truth.