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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Celebrate summer with grapes from Melissa’s Produce

The grape. A round, globe-shaped berry that grows in clusters on a vine. The colors vary like a painter’s palette from yellow green to pink to red to purple to almost dark blue. Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. They were grown solely to produce wine. Today, grapes are still used for wine, but can be eaten right off of the vine, dried into raisins, or juiced.

Champagne Grapes are a variety called Zante Currant or Black Corinth (named for the Greek city where they were grown over 2,000 years ago). They were reintroduced in the early 1980s when mini-vegetables were becoming popular. The grapes are so cute and tiny, like champagne bubbles. The small clusters fit in the palm of your hand. They are great as a snack, as a decorative accent to the table by draping them on wine glass rims, or added to a cheese/charcuterie board. The grapes are very sweet with molasses undertones.

Green Muscato Grapes are a hybrid of sweet brixing table grapes and common green Thompson seedless grapes. The grapes have an amber green color and sweet juicy flavor with citrus undertones. They would pair well in a summertime fruit salad or you could use them just for plain snacking.

Red Muscato Grapes have a bright, rosy red color, firm texture, and are slightly sweeter than their green-skinned cousins. They would be a great addition to a fruit & cheese platter, tossed in a green salad, or just as a snack.

Black Muscato Grapes are grown in California with a deep purple, almost black color. The sugar content is the same as the other two varieties but the tannins in the skin push the sweetness forward on the palate. They would be great on a fruit & cheese platter, cooked into sauce or used in a braising liquid for beef and/or pork roast.

Enjoy these summertime grapes before the season passes you by.

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