Grapes | Not Just for Wine Making

Grapes are not just for wine making. Although it sure is nice to relax with a glass of wine, we seldom think about the grape.

Did you know that grapes have been cultivated for making wine for over 8000 years? Evidence was found in the country of Georgia on the inside of storage jars that they were the first to enjoy wine making. The oldest winery was found just South of Georgia in Armenia and it dates back to 4000 BC

What I want to know is who was the first person to eat this fermented fruit and did they even know what being “drunk” was? It seems you would think that you ate something bad after that first hangover and not want to duplicate the sickness. Apparently, their hangover experience was not the same as mine.

But, anyway, back to the grape. It is in the berry family of the fruits. Most of us know that they grow in clusters on vines and are a variety of colors from dark reds, purples, yellow, green, orange, and pink.

Almost every continent grow grapes; whether for wine, jellies and jams, juice, vinegar, grape seed oil, drying for raisins, or just eating as is. These “berries” and packed full of nutrients.

Grapes | Nutritional Value

It is recommended that we eat berries 3-4 times a week.  If you didn’t know that a grape is a berry, now you can include them in the list.  Plus they are usually cheaper in the market than other berries.

The antioxidant benefits of the grape is outstanding, but most antioxidants are found in the skin and seeds.  There are probably very few of us that would remove the skin of a grape so we will get the benefit of antioxidants.  But, if you’re not a fan of eating seeded grapes, maybe you can include a grape seed extract, or use grape seed oil.  Grape seed oil is very high in Vitamin E, but I’m just not sure about the unhealthy benefits from the amount of polyunsaturated fats from the oil.  See for more information on that subject.

Grapes also have anti-inflammatory benefits as well as cardiovascular benefits.  It is believed that the French have better heart health despite the fact that they eat many foods with saturated fat because of their consumption of red wine.

Because the grape has a low glycemic index, it could actually provide benefits to regulating blood sugar.

Any grape can be dried to become a raisin.  Raisins have a higher concentration of nutrients ounce per ounce as grapes.  That means even though there’s a higher concentration of Vitamin C and Iron, it also means a higher concentration of sugars and calories.

WARNING:  Grapes and raisins can be poisonous and cause renal failure in your dogs.  See Snopes!

Approximate daily recommendations for 1 cup of grapes

  • 33% Manganese
  • 17% Vitamin K
  • 6% Vitamin C
  • 5% Vitamin B1
  • 5% Potassium
  • 5% Vitamin B6

If you want to include the benefits of the grape in your diet, beware of juices, jellies, and jams and their sugar content.  Read the ingredient labels and try to find products that are sugar-free.  A lot of those products are more sugar and water with very little real fruit.

Here’s a recipe for a Grape Salad that’s always a hit at family get-togethers and work functions.

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