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In season early autumn: Grapes

Grapes are the world’s largest fruit crop, and have been cultivated since biblical times, making them one of the oldest cultivated fruits.

Buying

Choose grapes which are firmly attached to the stem and feel heavy for their size. Grapes which hang loosely from the stem are likely to be sweeter but won’t last as long. Avoid buying grapes with a withered, dark stem or overly soft, wrinkled or bruised skin. If you want more antioxidants with this sweet, juicy hit, go for darker-coloured grapes.

Storing

Loosely wrap unwashed grapes in a plastic bag (leave grapes unwashed as damp grapes will quickly go mouldy), and store in the fridge for up to four days (grapes tend to spoil and ferment at room temperature). To freeze grapes, wash then pat grapes dry. Lay fruit on a baking tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer grapes to a plastic bag then return them to the freezer.

Using grapes

  • For the perfect porridge, top 1/2 cup cooked oats with 2 heaped tablespoons low-fat plain yoghurt, 1 handful halved grapes and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.
  • For an instant fruity treat, on bamboo skewers thread whole grapes, strawberries and sliced banana, orange and mango.
  • Make a delicious sandwich filling: in a large bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken with 1/2 cup halved seedless grapes, 2 chopped celery stalks and 1 finely diced red onion. Toss with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat Greek yoghurt, 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with rocket and thinly sliced cucumber.
  • Grapes make wonderful salad ingredients: combine 2 cups cooked brown rice with a handful of chopped, steamed green beans, 250g cooked turkey, 1 chopped capsicum, 150g mixed salad greens, 2 chopped celery stalks, 100g goat’s cheese and 1 large handful halved grapes. For the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon mustard (either Dijon or wholegrain).

Did you know? The number of berries in a bunch of grapes can be as many as 100.

First published: Mar 2011



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