Monday, August 10, 2009

Red grapes are usually sweeter and less expensive than green varieties which doesn't explain why north americans overwhelmingly buy green grapes.

Foodservice eats up most of the red varieties because they need color in their salads, desserts, and on their entrée plates.

The best commercial red varieties are, red crimson seedless, ruby seedless, flame seedless, and red globes seeded.

Red Crimson being the overall sweetest and crunchiest variety though smaller in size to its cousins. For a commercial red seedless grape nothing compares to the crimson. Ruby would be 2nd and flames 3rd.

Seeded Red Globes are grown mainly for their gigantic size and large bunches, offering the retailer a great ringout and volumes through the checkout. This variety can possess exceptional sweetness and flavor though I would say 90% of the crop is mediocre, tasteless, and very disappointing. Good quality red globes should be super firm when you squeeze them between your fingers and really crunchy not unlike a crisp apple.

The best grapes (all) are sold loose today and only available for export and upscale markets, secondly in premium clamshell packaging. Lower quality fruit is destined for bags, which is what the majority of supermarkets sell today.

My favorite red grape is "Seedless Red Muscats" definitely the winner for sweetness, flavor and extremely high in antioxidants. Once you bite into one you can't stop eating until the entire bunch is gone. Simply the best! Sweeter than ice cream! If you're lucky enough to find these babies in your local markets try them. They look green with a reddish tinge, not so much to look at. They should be firm and crunchy. Usually more expensive.

Champagne grapes have become very popular today too. Excellent flavor, sugar, and they're also seedless. Usually only sold in 1lb clamshells, but again the best are sold loose. My only complaint about these is that most growers pick these immature and RUIN the consumers first taste of this wonderful variety. As sweet as the Red Muscats but harder to come by good quality. Red Champage Grapes are good, but the Black are better!

Excerpt from "How to buy Green Grapes":

When you're buying grapes they should not be sticky or syrupy, and they're shouldn't be more than a few loose grapes in the bags or clamshell (red crimson can have lots of loose grapes that's okay). They should not smell like wine. The stems should be light brown or green in color depending on the variety, not shrivelled or black; this the the most important telling sign of the freshness that consumers overlook. Also, gently shake the bags to see if the grapes fall off. The fruit should not be brown at the stem where it's attached to the vine. The final test is gently squeezing the grapes between your thumb and index finger, the fruit should be firm not soft (sometimes Italias will be soft that's ok).

If you're still unsure, ask a Produce Clerk for help. If they're honest you've found a great place to buy your produce. Enjoy!



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