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Grapes: How they reached India, types and health benefits

Grapes are one of the most diverse and devoured fruits in India. Known for its sweet flavours and nutrients, grapes are hard to ignore. They come in various types and are carefully nurtured into fresh fruits, and nutritious raisins.

If you too love the juicy fruit, here’s a little history and facts about the grapes

Grapes of India

The story of grapes goes way back in history. They were introduced in India by Persian invaders back in 1300 AD. Grapes are cultivated in the lush green farms across states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Nashik in Maharashtra is known as the grape capital of India as and ranks high in grape cultivation across the world. Grapes belong to the same family, but there is a remarkable difference in their colour, size and taste.

What's your type?

Grapes are mainly categorised into two types — Table and Wine grapes — both having a unique texture, sweetness, and flavour. Table grapes are seedless and can be consumed fresh. They are also used in salads and recipes. These grapes come in various colours like green, black, red and purple. The change in colour is caused due to the production of anthocyanin which is a type of flavonoid that changes pigments. Grapes with anthocyanin can vary in colour and are rich in antioxidants. The mutation in green grapes blocks the production of anthocyanin and therefore they remain green.

Grape Varieties: Thompson Seedless and Super Sonaka Seedless are the two most widely known pale green textured grapes followed by Sharad Seedless that is black, sweet and fleshy. Crimson Seedless, Flame Seedless and Red Globe Seeded are different types of round red and crunchy grapes, with good juice content.

Wine grapes are thick, crunchy, seeded, and give a sweet flavour. These types are found in different regions and are high in antioxidants.

Why so nutritious?

Grapes are highly nutritious in all its forms; be it fresh fruit, juice, wine or even dried raisins. All kinds of grapes are nutritious, rich in vitamins C and K. Their antioxidant nature may help you reduce inflammation and boost immunity. They are a perfect go-to fruit to beat the heat and can keep you healthy by providing the daily value of nutrients.

Not just another fresh fruit

Grapes are a lot more than just fresh fruit. They are crushed into fermenting wine, dried into raisins, mixed into making jams, and make a perfect topping for salads and desserts. They are diverse, and there is a lot you can try with grapes boosting your nutrition quotient. Grapes also slide well into pickles and chutneys.

How to pick and store grapes?

Grapes are to be handled carefully, unlike other specific fruits, they are only harvested once fully ripened. So, ensure you pick fully ripened grapes that are plump and free of wrinkles. Go for green grapes that have a yellowish shade if you like them sweeter. Always purchase grapes from a certified store to avoid consuming any pesticide residue. Refrigerate unwashed grapes in a clean bag to maintain freshness for a longer time. However, it is always best to consume grapes within four to five days while refrigerating with good care.

Grapes can also be used as an ingredient to try out fruit recipes and desserts.