Thoughts on Grapes

Until recently I have not bought or even eaten many grapes. For some strange reason I always get bad heartburns if I eat a lot of them. And I am pretty disappointed by the grape varieties in the US. It seems like the market is geared towards convenience rather than taste. Grapes found in supermarkets these days are hailed as seedless, thin-skinned, and sweet. Whatever happened to fragrance and the nice tartness that compliments the sweet? The grapes in Taiwan are so much better. The 巨峰 (Ju4-Feng1) variety is a favorite of mine. It's a pretty traditional purple variety with on average 3-4 seeds in each fruit and the skin is thick, generally needs to be peeled. But it's got such a nice aroma that makes you think "ah, GRAPES!!!"

But my real lack of motivation stemmed from how my parents always used to make me prepare the grapes. In my family, fruits are not eaten off the hand. Almost everything needs to be nicely cut up, presented in a plate or a bowl, and eaten in a civilized manner. Grapes were a particularly annoying fruit. My mom would make me cut each grape off the stem with scissors. Pulling them off was not acceptable, because the holes into which the stems were attached would allow dirt to get inside during washes. Grape skin have a natural white powdery substance called "bloom," which is edible. But with all the pesticides and chemicals sprayed onto the produce these days, it is not wise to eat any fruits without washing them. (A quick search revealed that copper sulfate and calcium hydroxide are regularly sprayed onto grapes to prevent mildew) In the past we always wetted the grapes in a colander, sprinkled them with salt, and just shook them for a while and rinse off. This would be repeated a couple times. But studies have not found evidence that salt has any cleaning properties, except that it is abrasive and helps to rub against the skin. These days I use flour in place of salt. The result is pretty good. Grapes come out nice and shiny.

So next time when you eat grapes, don't be lazy and eat them off the stem directly. Treat them with loving care and wash them well.

Comments

erica said…
if this is how I have to wash all my fruits, I won't be eating many...me, lazy...
Albertitto said…
aawww, well, at least rinse them... Whenever I get grapes from fruit platters here, I try to wipe them clean with napkins. After a few grapes, the napkin actually turns brown from all the dirt and grime...
Joe said…
What about the added flavor of the dirt??? Ever think of that????
Albertitto said…
yeah Joe, next time I'll flavor your pizza with some dirt. On a related note, I think blue cheese tastes like dirt...
Joe said…
GAhhh!!! Blue cheese is The Cheese of Buffalo. You take that back.
Albertitto said…
Buffalo can't just claim blue cheese because it's the sauce for their chickens :-P Besides, there are many other cheeses I hate other than blue cheese.

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