Grapes: Healthy Superfruits

The grape is a very versatile fruit. From grape juice and wine to grape seed oil and raisins, all sorts of delicacies can be made from them. In addition to the grape seed extract, fresh grapes also have a healing character.

There is much more to grapes than wine

Whether in mythology, songs, poems, pictures, religion, or folk wisdom: there is no other drink that has been and is discussed as often as wine.

While the Greek tragedian Euripides said that the charm of life dies where there is no wine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe exclaimed: Long live freedom! Long live the wine!

But the grapevine has far more to offer than alcoholic beverages such as wine or grappa. Let’s think of juicy grapes, delicious grape juice, delicious raisins, or fruity grape seed oil.

Apart from the culinary delights, the vine is an ancient medicinal plant – from the grapes, and the grape seeds, to the leaves and flowers.

The grapevine is native to Eurasia

The grapevine (Vitis vinifera) originally comes from Eurasia. Today, the climbing shrub is primarily found wild in the Mediterranean region, Central Europe, Southwest Asia, and South Africa. A subspecies of grapevine is the so-called noble grapevine. It is cultivated in almost all countries with a temperate and subtropical climate for a wide variety of purposes and is one of the most important agricultural crops worldwide.

The fresh grapes that are eaten as fruit are called table grapes. Beverages such as grape juice and wine as well as grape seed extract are obtained from so-called wine grapes. The individual berries of the grape are called grapes

How the noble grapevine came to Europe

The ancestor of the noble grapevine is the wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris), which according to fossil finds has existed for millions of years. From it, the noble vine was bred about 7,000 years ago in the Middle East. Today Georgia and Iraq are among the oldest wine-growing countries. From there, the vines reached Egypt around 3,000 BC and later Greece and the Roman Empire.

After all, it was the Roman legionnaires who made sure that they never ran out of wine on their campaigns of conquest throughout Europe. Wherever the climate was favorable, the noble grapevine was cultivated. And so the coveted plant found its way to all the wine-growing regions that are still known today, such as the Wachau in Austria and the German Rhine Valley.

The nutritional content of the grape

Like almost every other fruit, grapes contain hardly any fat, little protein, and a lot of water. The grape is rich in carbohydrates, although the sugar content is relatively high. The more seeds the grapes contain, the higher the dietary fiber content. In our nutrient table, you will find the nutritional values ​​per 100 g of fresh grapes:

  • 81.3 grams of water
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 0.7 g protein
  • 15.6 g carbohydrates (of which 15.4 g sugars: 7.3 g glucose and 7.6 g fructose)
  • 0.8 to 2 g fiber

The calories in the grape

At 71 kcal, the calorie content of 100 g of fresh grapes is relatively high compared to other fruit. Apples only have 52 kcal and strawberries only 32 kcal. And yet grapes, like any fruit, are wonderful as a snack between meals or as a dessert. The situation is completely different with calorie bombs such as potato chips with 535 kcal per 100 g.

However, processed grapes are to be evaluated very differently than the fresh variety. 100 g of raisins have 66 g of sugar and 298 kcal. With moderation and aim, however, you can enjoy the delicious dried grapes unrepentantly.

Grapefruit juice has just as many calories as fruit. However, since 100 ml of juice is drunk quickly, it should be consumed in moderation and ideally diluted with water.

The glycemic load of grapes

Grapes have a low glycemic index (GI) of 45 (values ​​up to 55 are considered low). The GI states how carbohydrate-containing food affects the blood sugar level. The higher the GI, the more the blood sugar level rises after eating. The GI always refers to 100 g of carbohydrates in the respective food – no matter how high the carbohydrate content per 100 g of food is. Therefore, it is better to pay attention to the values ​​of the glycemic load (GL).

Glycemic load (GL) refers to the number of carbohydrates per serving. 100 g of fresh grapes have a low glycemic load of 7.2 (values ​​up to 10 are considered low). Low-value foods provide long-term energy without causing cravings.

Grapes in fructose intolerance

100 g of grapes contain 15.4 g of sugar, of which 7.3 g is glucose and 7.6 g is fructose. The ratio of fructose to glucose is 1, which tends to make food more tolerable in the case of fructose intolerance. However, the fructose content is ultimately so high that grapes are unfortunately usually not a good choice for those affected. The fruits are generally tolerated neither during the waiting phase nor as part of long-term nutrition. Learn more about fructose intolerance here.

Grapes in histamine intolerance

Red wine is absolutely not recommended for those with histamine intolerance, but this does not apply to fresh grapes. Because the histamine in red wine does not come from the grapes but is created during the fermentation processes during wine production. It is the biological acid degradation that stimulates the formation of histamine. Red wines contain more histamine than white wines due to mash fermentation and increased acid degradation. Fresh grapes, on the other hand, are very low in histamine, which applies to both red and white grapes.

The most important secondary plant substances in grapes

The grape contains numerous secondary plant substances that can have a positive effect on health. A total of around 1,600 ingredients have been identified in grapes so far. The most important phytochemicals of the grape include the following:

  • Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) are found in red and blue grapes in particular, but hardly in white varieties. They are primarily contained in the grape seeds, but also in the skin and in the vine leaves. OPC has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic properties. They are designed to protect the eyes and brain and prevent diseases such as osteoarthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Flavan-3-ols (e.g. catechin) are among the tannins and the most important secondary plant substances in white grape varieties, which are not as well stocked with OPC as red or blue varieties. Flavan-3-ols are particularly found in the skin of berries. They have an antioxidant effect and a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. They also lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
  • Flavonoids: Quercetin is the main flavonoid found in red and blue grapes. These are joined by syringes, myricetin, and kaempferol. Blue and red grapes owe their beautiful color to anthocyanins. The flavonoids are primarily contained in the skin of the berries. Overall, they work against free radicals, inflammation, pathogenic bacteria, and viruses. They strengthen the immune system and can protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and cancer.
  • Resveratrol is found primarily in the skins and seeds of grapes. Fresh grape skins contain about 50 to 100 µg resveratrol per gram. According to studies, this substance has antioxidant, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties and is said to counteract conditions such as arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and arthritis.

The grapevine is an ancient medicinal plant

Even in ancient times, philosophers and healers praised the healing powers of fresh grapes. The applications were extremely diverse. Unripe grapes were used in the treatment of sore throats. Raisins were administered for tuberculosis, constipation, and thirst. Ripe grapes, on the other hand, were used to treat cancer, cholera, smallpox, nausea, skin and eye infections, and kidney and liver diseases.

Attempts were made to cure skin and eye diseases with the juice of grapevines. The leaves were used to treat hemorrhoids and tea was made from the flowers to strengthen the nerves. In the traditional medicine of India, grapes were used for coughs, catarrhs ​​of the respiratory tract, enlarged liver and spleen, loss of appetite, and as a tonic.

Fresh, ripe grapes are still used in folk medicine today as blood-forming, strengthening, and blood-cleansing. You will e.g. use it for arteriosclerosis, obesity, liver disease, constipation, and in convalescence. Unripe grapes, on the other hand, are used for headaches and stomach aches.

The grapevine has not lost its good reputation as a medicinal plant and is still used in folk medicine. There are now also some scientific studies that support traditional applications.

Fresh grapes are better than individual botanicals

Since the 20th century, more and more ingredients in grapes, such as Resveratrol, for example, have been identified and classified as health-promoting in the context of scientific studies, but fresh grapes have been more and more forgotten as a remedy, as people prefer to use the isolated, highly concentrated plant substances in capsule form.

In the meantime, however, more and more researchers are returning to the whole food concept in medicine. They believe that the whole can be greater than the simple sum of its parts.

For example, in 2015 US researchers investigated whether fresh grapes offered advantages compared to individual active ingredients. They found that eating foods rich in phytochemicals regularly counteracts aging processes, is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and metabolic diseases, and is a better approach to disease prevention.

This is attributed to the fact that substances in food influence each other, which means that a better preventive effect can be achieved than with isolated active ingredients. So z. For example, the quercetin in grapes affects the bioavailability of resveratrol.

Fresh grapes as a remedy

In the meantime, it has been shown many times that grapes also have great potential in the treatment of diseases. Human studies have u. The fruit has been shown to fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, strengthen the heart, and lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

In studies, however, no fresh grapes are usually used, but high-quality grape powder. This is not an extract that only contains certain ingredients. Because the grape powder is obtained by freeze-drying and grinding fresh grapes. As a result, it contains all the ingredients of the fresh grape. The recommended daily dose is between 46 and a maximum of 115 g of grape powder. This corresponds to between 250 and 630 g of fresh berries.

The use of grape powder offers scientists the advantage of an exact dosage of all active ingredients. This is not the case with fresh grapes, since the content of the ingredients can vary greatly depending on the grape variety and even individual grapes, which would falsify the study results. In the context of a grape cure, however, fresh fruits can very well be enjoyed.

Grape Cure: Quackery or Regeneration?

Grape cures have been carried out since ancient times. Over the course of time, new variants were constantly being developed. This type of cure was really popularized by Johanna Brandt, a South African author of health books, who claimed to have been cured of stomach cancer. She was dismissed as a quack because there was no evidence that a grape cure would cure cancer or any other disease.

It is not improbable that cancer can be defeated by a grape cure alone, but there is no further evidence. However, such a cure can certainly help to prevent diseases or support recovery.

The so-called Merano grape cure was already very much appreciated by Sissi, the Empress of Austria. She regularly visited the spa town of Merano to recharge her batteries. The daily intake of grapes for this type of treatment is 300 g to 1 kg of grapes. These are divided into two meals: one in the morning on an empty stomach (freshly squeezed grape juice can also be used) and another before a light evening meal. After consumption, a walk is recommended. So you eat not only grapes during a grape cure but also other foods.

Wine and the French Paradox

At the end of the 20th century, the so-called French paradox gained popularity. It is based on the finding that, despite high alcohol and fat consumption, the French lived longer on average than people from other nations. Since the French drank a lot more wine than e.g. B. Americans, has been thought to promote longevity. Superficially, resveratrol and OPC in wine were held responsible.

Countless wine studies followed, all of which were intended to prove that wine was beneficial to health despite the alcohol it contained. In the meantime, this thesis has been put into perspective. Because it has been proven that the frequency of heart disease in France was statistically incorrect. Higher consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol is therefore also associated with a higher risk of heart disease in France.

In addition, the regular consumption of alcoholic beverages is not recommended, which we have already reported to you here. According to a US study, the evaluation of the data from almost 15 million patients has shown that alcohol promotes cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, cardiac insufficiency, and atrial fibrillation.

Wine vs. grape juice vs. grapes

According to studies, there is a far better drink than wine to absorb the health-promoting compounds found in grapes: grapes

juice. Because this also contains all the valuable ingredients of grapes, but very little alcohol: In the EU, the maximum limit is 3 g per liter.

According to analyses, grape juice is an equally good source of phytochemicals and can easily compete with wine in this regard. Just like grapes themselves, grape juice also has health benefits. One study involved 12 elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairments. For 16 weeks, 7 of them received between 444 and 621 ml of red grape juice daily, depending on their body weight. 5 received a placebo.

The researchers found that the subjects in the grape juice group were better at solving memory tasks after completing the regimen. Brain activation was even detected using magnetic resonance imaging. These results suggest that grape juice may improve mild memory loss.

Grape juice may also help young people, according to a placebo-controlled study at Northumbria University. The administration of 230 ml of red grape juice resulted in an increase in concentration and an improvement in mood.

However, eating grapes is healthier than drinking juice made from them. Because during production or pasteurization, the grape juice is heated to up to 85 degrees Celsius, which affects sensitive secondary plant substances such as OPC. Resveratrol is even completely destroyed by pasteurization. Another benefit of grapes is that they contain more fiber than grape juice.

Fresh grapes reduce the risk of diabetes

According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, grape juice passes through the digestive system faster than fresh fruit because it’s low in fiber and is drunk much faster than you can eat grapes. Because of this, blood sugar rises faster, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study analyzed data from more than 187,000 subjects.

Those study participants who ate at least two servings of fruit per week — specifically blueberries, grapes, and apples — reduced their risk of diabetes by 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving of fruit per month. In contrast, the risk increased by 21 percent among participants who drank one or more glasses of fruit juice per day.

Grapeseed Oil: Tasty and healthy

Grape seeds are packed with phytochemicals such as OPC, resveratrol, and catechin as well as vitamin E. But in order to benefit from the healthy ingredients, the grape seeds have to be chewed. Because if they are swallowed whole, they are excreted undigested. But the substances in the seeds can also be wonderfully absorbed with grape seed oil.

Grapeseed oil is obtained from the seeds by hot or cold pressing. Around 40 kg of seeds from 2 t of grapes is needed to obtain 1 liter of grape seed oil. The light yellow, hot-pressed grape seed oil is ideal for frying food, as it can be heated up to 200 °C. The shimmering light green and nutty-tasting cold-pressed grape seed oil, on the other hand, is more valuable for health, since the secondary plant substances remain intact during the gentle production. It should therefore not be heated and is ideal for refining cold dishes such as salads.

The cold-pressed grape seed oil offers many health benefits, for which the polyunsaturated fats contained are responsible in addition to the secondary plant substances. These have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, as they lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol and promote the “good” HDL cholesterol.

An 8-week study showed that grapeseed oil can reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance in overweight women – despite a significant excess of omega-6, commonly thought to be pro-inflammatory, showing once again that one is aware of the effects of isolated compounds should not infer the effect of whole food.

Grapeseed oil against water retention

Grape seed oil is also used externally in traditional medicine. For example, in the case of pregnancy-related water retention. The main reason for this is the increasing weight and the fact that more fluid flows from the vessels into the surrounding tissue.

In 2020, a one-year study with a total of around 200 test subjects confirmed that foot massages with grape seed oil significantly relieve water retention. It is best to ask your midwife or an experienced masseuse about this.

Grapeseed oil for the skin

The grape seed oil also has a positive effect on the skin. It’s added to numerous skin care products for a reason. The anti-inflammatory linoleic acid makes up around 75 percent of the fats in grape seed oil. It counteracts skin irritation and chronic sun damage and slows down skin aging.

When used externally, grape seed oil offers the advantage that it is quickly absorbed, does not become greasy, and does not clog the pores. Both dry and sensitive and impure skin can benefit from it. For daily care, you can simply mix some grape seed oil into the face cream.

A nourishing scrub can be made by mixing 2 to 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil into a paste in a mortar and pestle with coarse salt. The peeling is applied to the face in circular movements for 2 to 3 minutes and then washed off with lukewarm water.

You can also do your skin good with a face mask. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply the mask and leave it on for 15 minutes. Then wash your face with lukewarm water.

Grape seed extract against free radicals

The grape seed extract is obtained by extraction with e.g. B. water or ethanol obtained from grape seeds. It offers the advantage that the OPC content is particularly high. According to researchers from the University of Wisconsin, diseases can be treated more specifically with grape seed extract than with fresh grapes.

The grape seed extract is known for its powerful antioxidant effects. Studies have shown that the antioxidant power of OPC is 20 times that of vitamin E and 50 times that of vitamin C. By reducing free radicals, the body is protected from disease and decay.

According to studies, grape seed extract can improve eyesight, increase flexibility in joints, strengthen the heart and promote blood circulation. In 2016, scientists analyzed 16 clinical studies involving a total of 810 subjects and found that grape seed extract can lower blood pressure. Grape seed extract also counteracts skin aging by promoting the skin’s elasticity and flexibility.

It is not possible to generalize how much grape seed extract should be taken, as this depends on the extract and the condition being treated. In studies, between 100 and 300 mg of the extract are used daily. However, it is not the amount of extract that is important, but the OPC content of the extract. A dose of 200 mg OPC per day is recommended.

The cultivation of grapes

There are around 16,000 grape varieties. The grapes can be spherical to oval in shape and colored green, yellow, red, blue, or purple. The diameter ranges from 6 to 20 millimeters. After oranges, grapes are the second most important fruit on the world market.

Around 77 million tons of grapes were harvested worldwide in 2019. The largest producer is clearly China with 14 million tons. The most important growing countries in Europe include Italy, Spain, and France. Germany ranked 16th with over 1 million tons. Around 310,000 tons of grapes are harvested in Austria and 124,000 tons in Switzerland every year.

But only around 10 percent of the grapes grown worldwide are marketed as table grapes. 5 percent are processed into raisins. This means that 85 percent are wine grapes, from which drinks such as grape juice, wine or sparkling wine, and wine vinegar are made.

The season extends from June to January

The largest consumer of table grapes in Germany. Deliveries from southern European countries begin in mid-June and continue into January. The high season takes place in September and October. Italy is the main supplier. So that grapes can be offered all year round, they are imported from distant countries. Table grapes from South Africa, Chile, and other third countries cover the demand from November to July.

What distinguishes table grapes and wine grapes

In contrast to wine grapes, table grapes are not used to make drinks or vinegar, but are eaten raw as fruit. Different requirements are placed on table grapes and wine grapes.

The berries of table grapes should be arranged loosely so that more sunlight reaches the individual berries. This has a positive effect on ripening, and the berries dry faster after precipitation, which reduces the risk of fungal diseases. In addition, the berries should be large, juicy, tender-skinned, and have few or no pips at all.

With wine grapes, on the other hand, it is important that good wine or grape juice can be made from them. They usually have dense berries, are rich in seeds, have small berries, are thick-skinned, and have higher acidity and lower tannin content than table grapes. There are wine grapes that taste excellent, but the acidity is often too high. Table grapes, on the other hand, are usually not suitable for winemaking at all.

In August 2000 a reform of the EU wine market organization took place. Since then, the wine law no longer applies to table grapes. This means that table grape, like any other fruit, can be grown by anyone. Wine varieties, on the other hand, may only be planted on a maximum area of ​​100 m² if the cultivation takes place outside of vineyards and without planting rights.

Seedless grapes are not a modern invention

Seedless grapes are created by the so-called virgin fruitiness. Fruit development occurs without prior fertilization and seed formation. However, this is by no means the result of modern breeding methods. Because there have always been vines that have produced seedless grapes. They were created through natural mutations in hereditary factors that are responsible for seed development.

Early on, people deliberately propagated vines with seedless grapes. The seedless grapes were used to make raisins and sultanas. To this day, seedless vine plants are propagated by cuttings. Plant parts are cut off, rooted, and then planted. As a result, genetically identical clones of an original plant can be produced.

According to researchers from Geisenheim University, grapes without seeds are actually not seedless. Because in grapes there are core systems, which are so tiny that you don’t even notice them when you eat them.

Seedlings cannot develop from these tiny plants in a normal way. However, if the core plants are removed from the grapes, they can be cultivated in the laboratory on a nutrient medium. These plants are not clones, they contain the traits of both parents.

Table grapes are heavily contaminated with pesticides

On conventional farms, grapes are one of the fruits that are sprayed most frequently. At the same time, they absorb significantly larger amounts of the spray toxins through their skin than many other fruits. This is also underpinned by analyzes carried out annually by the chemical and veterinary investigation office in Stuttgart.

In 2019, a total of 753 samples of fresh fruit from conventional cultivation were examined. 95 percent of these showed residues of a total of 190 different pesticide-active ingredients. Soft fruit, which includes table grapes, performed particularly poorly. 82 grape samples were examined, 81 of which contained residues, and 80 of which contained multiple residues.

In 3 samples, the pesticide residues were even above the legally permitted maximum level. This was about:

  • Abamectin: This insecticide contaminates aquatic ecosystems (ponds, rivers, lakes) and is highly toxic to zooplankton even at low concentrations.
  • Cetrimonium Chloride: This chemical compound is often found in shampoos, conditioners, and household cleaners. In the EU, the substance is banned from food and pesticides. found in table grapes and avocados.

In addition to being used directly in pesticides (in non-EU countries), the substance can migrate into the fruit through contaminated surfaces or packaging materials when used as a disinfectant.

If the substance enters the aquatic environment, it degrades very slowly and is extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. According to studies, malformations can be caused in mammalian embryos.

Nicotine: Previously widely used as an insecticide, it has been banned in the EU since 2009. However, nicotine pesticides can still be found in foods that come from countries where they are still legal. Nicotine harms not only aphids but also beneficial insects such as honey bees and bumblebees, as well as other wildlife.

The purchase of grapes

With grapes, as with any food, the fresher the better! When buying, make sure that the berries are undamaged. They should look crisp and not shriveled. The roots of the style and the stalk should still be green and fresh. If stored for a longer period of time, the stalks will turn brown and woody, and mold will easily form at the base of the berries.

If there is a white haze on the grapes, this is a sign of freshness. This so-called fragrance film protects the fruit from drying out. Wash the grapes thoroughly just before enjoying them. If you do this beforehand, the fragrance film will be destroyed and mold will grow faster.

Grapes do not ripen

Grapes count such. B. Strawberries and raspberries to the non-climacteric fruits. This means that they do not ripen after harvest. So only buy fully ripe grapes.

How to properly store grapes

If you notice after shopping that there is mold on the stems of individual grapes, you should remove them immediately. At room temperature in the fruit basket, grapes can be kept for 4 to 5 days.

If you have bought, harvested, or received more grapes than you can eat during this time, you should fill the unwashed fruit into a plastic bag or a Tupperware and put it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. The grapes can be kept for up to 2 weeks at 4 to 5 degrees Celsius.

Keep in mind, however, that the grapes lose their aroma if they are stored in a cool place. It is best if you take the fruit out of the fridge 20 minutes before eating to wash it and bring it to room temperature.

Freeze grapes

Freezing grapes can extend their shelf life by up to 6 months. In contrast to many other fruits, grapes offer the advantage that they do not become mushy after thawing. But this only applies if you freeze seedless green grapes.

The consistency of frozen pitted grapes and all blue varieties, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, they are wonderful for making compotes, jams, or syrups or for topping cakes.

When freezing, just do the following:

  • Place the grapes in a sieve and wash them under lukewarm running water.
  • Pat the grapes dry with a cloth or kitchen paper.
  • Carefully remove the berries from the stalks, place them in a freezer bag or container and freeze them. Don’t forget to label (date).

Tip: If you don’t want the berries to freeze together, you can transfer them to a plate or tray and freeze them in the freezer for 5 to 6 hours. They are then packaged and frozen.

Are raisins, sultanas, and currants the same thing?

Not all raisins are the same. Because the dried grapes can vary greatly in terms of appearance and taste depending on the grape variety, origin, and type of drying. The term raisin is used both for dried fruit of a specific variety and as a generic term for all dried grapes.

The main types of raisins include:

  • Smyrna raisins are dark in color and have soft pips.
  • Sultanas are relatively large and fleshy, golden yellow to reddish brown in color, and round to oval in shape. They are made from the seedless Sultana grape and are characterized by their honey-sweet, strong taste. The Rapunzel website reads: “In contrast to raisins or currants, sultanas are dipped before drying, which means they are sprayed with a solution of potash and organic olive oil. This loosens the wax layer on the outer skin and removes the fine shell becomes permeable to water.”
  • Currants are obtained from the Korinthiaki grape variety. They are small, usually seedless, reddish-blue, or black-purple in color, and have a sweet and sour taste. As a rule, currants are not sulphurized (but pay attention to the instructions on the packaging!) and also not oiled, which is because they are dried longer, i.e. they are drier overall than sultanas, so they don’t stick together as much and are also less perishable. However, they are significantly more expensive than sultanas.

Raisins contaminated with pesticides

Like grapes, raisins are often contaminated with pesticides. In addition, they are usually sulphurized to extend their shelf life (maximum content: 1,000 mg/kg). However, sulfur is not tolerated by everyone and can cause headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks. For this reason, you should rely on unsulphurised organic products or dry organic grapes at home.

Make your own raisins

It takes about 4 to 5 kg of grapes to produce 1 kg of raisins. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry the grapes in the oven. Heat removes the water from the berries down to an acceptable residual moisture content of 20 to 30 percent.

Proceed as follows:

  • Clean the undamaged ripe grapes under running, lukewarm water.
  • If the berries still have stalks on them, carefully pick them off.
  • Cover an oven rack with parchment paper and spread the fruit out on it.
  • Set the oven to 60 degrees Celsius top and bottom heat or circulating air.
  • Leave the oven door slightly open during the drying process.
  • Turn the grapes regularly, preferably every 2 hours.
  • Depending on the size and water content of the berries, the drying time varies between 10 and 24 hours. You can recognize the finished raisins by the fact that they are tough and pliable.
  • The cooled raisins are filled into well-sealable jars.
  • During the first few days, check that the raisins are well-dried to avoid mold.
  • Always store raisins in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Raisins dried in the oven last about 6 months.

Grapes enrich the kitchen

Grapes taste best raw. They should not be boiled, otherwise, they will lose their great aroma. The decorative fruits taste wonderful in muesli or in a fruit salad. You can also use them as a cake topping, but don’t bake them, just like strawberries.
Raisins enhance muesli mixtures and trail mixes and give baked goods such as raisin rolls and desserts such as apple strudel that certain something. Raisins also score points in spicy dishes, they are an indispensable part of oriental cuisine. Think of delicious recipes like couscous or saffron rice with raisins. Spices like cinnamon, chili, cumin, and cardamom are just fantastic.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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