Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Grape Expectations

By Paige Schilt, September 5, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Schilt

There’s something about September that makes me yearn to eat in harmony with the season. But while I have visions of rustic harvest festivals and bountiful cornucopias…my nine-year-old son has other ideas. As any parent of young children will tell you, one picky eater can wreak havoc with the best-laid plans for seasonal cuisine.

That’s why it seems so perfect that fresh, flavorful organic grapes are at their peak during back-to-school season. After long, lazy days ripening to perfection in the warm California sunshine, grapes are ripe for lunch boxes and after-school snacks. These kid-friendly fruits a good source of fiber and are high in vitamin C and potassium, so you can feel good about packing a sweet treat. And grapes are about 80% water, so they make a smart choice for snacks and desserts.

This season, Whole Foods Market® field teams have been visiting California’s fertile Central Valley to choose the highest-quality, best-tasting red, green and black grapes from organic farms. Organic farming practices create well-balanced soil, which makes for strong, healthy plants with delicious fruit. In addition to the flavor benefits, you can rest assured that your family’s grapes have been grown and handled without persistent toxic chemicals.

I love that grapes are so low-maintenance at a time of year when things are a little bit hectic at home. To select the best grapes, I simply look for firm, uniformly shaped and colored fruits. I know that the greener the stem, the fresher the grapes will be. If I’m not going to serve a whole bunch all at once, I use scissors to remove small clusters instead of pulling off individual grapes. This prevents the stem from drying out, keeping the remaining grapes fresher. (Grapes can keep in a bag or a bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

When my whole household is happily munching with the season, I feel like a rock star. One of the best things about grapes is their versatility—you can dress them up or dress them down, playing to the peewee palate or adapting to more sophisticated, grown-up tastes. Personally, I’m planning to try these Blue Cheese and Walnut Dusted Grapes as a salad topper.

If all my family-members aren’t quite ready for the heady mélange of earthy, bitter and sweet, that’s fine. I’ll save some undressed fruit on the side. Let them eat grapes!

 

Category: Produce, Food & Recipes

 

28 Comments

Comments

Robin Robinson says ...
MY fav is organic baby greens, sliced red grapes and chicken chunks. Yumm
09/10/2012 12:36:47 PM CDT
Abby says ...
Thank you for the tips. I had not known to check out the stem as an indicator of freshness. I did, however, grow up cutting off bunches (my grandmother had special scissors for that) for looks.
09/14/2012 12:08:28 PM CDT
Renee Klaproth says ...
Another grape favorite in our house with young, and the young at heart, is frozen grapes. After rinsing, remove from stems, freeze on a cookie tray, place in a plastic zip bag and Enjoy.
09/14/2012 2:20:03 PM CDT
Dennis Tracz says ...
Another wonderful grape that is ready this time of year is muscadines both bronze and dark blue or even black colored. They have 15g of protein per serving of 10 grapes as well as fiber, ellagic acid and resveratrol among many other nutrients.
09/14/2012 2:28:52 PM CDT
florine says ...
Thanks for the bits of info re. grapes and the cheese and walnuts dip. I'm always ready for suggestions. PS>>>I love the store in Charlotte. It's an adventure!
09/14/2012 2:39:48 PM CDT
carol Macon says ...
Thank You for that info on grape selection. I always buy Organic but did not know "the greener the stem, the fresher the grape!" I also didn't know about using scissors to cut clusters. It makes sense though. Thank You again1
09/14/2012 3:23:13 PM CDT
Mitsue says ...
Thank you for providing such great information about one of our favorite fruits! We personally prefer dark skinned grapes; we understand they have more antioxidants...Freezing them is fun too! We are on our way to Whole Foods! Viva grape season!!!
09/14/2012 4:04:34 PM CDT
Nan Aitel-thompson says ...
The taste of grapes doesn't seem to relate to freshness. The only way I know to tell flavor is to taste one. It varies so much. With green grapes, slightly yellow ones usually have the best flavor, but even then not always. And smaller ones usually taste better than large ones. IDK why. But thanks for the tip on stems. And yes, frozen grapes are great to stem the appetite. I'm off to eat my green ones right now.
09/14/2012 6:38:10 PM CDT
Cheryl says ...
I love grapes with almost anything, but I will have to try that recipe. It sounds great.
09/14/2012 7:08:44 PM CDT
Deborah Herbst says ...
Awesome! Will drive 60 miles to prep my Fruit Tray with these grapes. Please more recipes?
09/14/2012 7:26:14 PM CDT
Mary says ...
Thank you for Sharing such great tips/info. As a Childcare Provider/Nanny I'm going to share with parents.
09/14/2012 8:34:13 PM CDT
Jacqueline says ...
I've recently used Whole Foods Market's organic Muscadines and Scuppernongs to make a sourdough starter and also to make a Shrub.
09/14/2012 9:33:04 PM CDT
Jody Shields says ...
Thanks for the helpful tips in selecting the perfect grape! The blue cheese and walnut dusted grapes sound delicious and easy to make. I will definitely give them a try!
09/14/2012 11:10:43 PM CDT
Marilyn Hogan says ...
Did you know that you can FREEZE grapes? I am on a diet...and love sherbet and ice cream, but don't want to indulge because I am trying to loose weight. To get a treat, I freeze the grapes after washing them in the bag they come in with the holes in it...and just take out a handful when I want something cold and refreshing. The texture is much like sherbet....Eating them frozen takes away the craving for ice cream ..... I just love them........
09/14/2012 11:33:41 PM CDT
Abiah says ...
what amount equals the "one serving" that the nutritional information is given for? (if I missed this somewhere forgive me)
09/15/2012 11:05:02 AM CDT
Kathleen Houton says ...
Wish you would carry Italian Muscats or their ilk. They are delicious. Every market in Europe sells them. Why are they so hard to get in US???
09/15/2012 1:11:38 PM CDT
Cathy says ...
My daughter LOVES to eat frozen grapes! They're like little bite-sized, nutritious popsicles. :) And if you buy a lot while they're in season, you can enjoy grapes even longer.
09/16/2012 9:16:30 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ABIAH - You will want to look at the serving size listed for each recipe and the nutritional information typically describes one serving. For example, if the recipe makes 2 servings, you can divide the portion in half and get the nutritional info for one serving. I hope this helps!
09/17/2012 1:06:45 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DEBORAH - Check out our Glorious Grape Recipe post at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/glorious-grape-recipes. There are some awesome ideas on there!
09/17/2012 1:07:46 PM CDT
Ginger says ...
Where are organic grapes available? I've been looking quite awhile and there only seems to be conventional available.
09/18/2012 10:40:36 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@GINGER - Since our products vary between store locations, I would encourage you to reach out to the Produce department at your local store. They should be able to tell you when they are expecting an organic variety. You can find their contact information at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
09/19/2012 11:01:31 AM CDT
Norma Rooks says ...
It seems since early summer I have had red grapes in my refrigerator and they all have tasted simply wonderful... a great snack and addition to salads of all kinds....
09/19/2012 8:47:29 PM CDT
darr says ...
grapes are good frozen as snacks before dinner too. Grapes is my flavorite fruit. thank you for your articles about grapes
09/20/2012 7:28:32 AM CDT
Vivek says ...
Looking for Thompson seedless golden white grapes in whole foods at Kentlands. Just visited Bay Area in CA and the fresh crop is available in plenty at Farmers Markets though hard to find in groceries. Please guide me on availability in Montgomery County MD
09/29/2012 6:30:33 PM CDT
Vivek says ...
Looking for Thompson seedless golden white grapes in whole foods at Kentlands. Just visited Bay Area in CA and the fresh crop is available in plenty at Farmers Markets though hard to find in groceries. Please guide me on availability in Montgomery County MD
09/29/2012 6:30:38 PM CDT

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