The fruit of a woody grape vine is known as grapes, grapeberries, or just grapes. Grapes can be consumed fresh or used to make wine, juice, jam, and jelly-like products. Grapes come in a variety of colors, including red, purple, white, and green. Grapes can now be seedless by employing machines to remove the fruit’s seeds. Since they frequently grow very aggressively, wild grapevines are frequently seen as a nuisance weed that obstructs the growth of other plants.
The name “raisin” actually derives from the French word for “grape,” and it refers to the dried fruit of the grapevine.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, red grapes have been rapidly gaining recognition for their appeal, vitamin content, and antioxidant capabilities in the United States and other nations, as well as the global functional food business. They now enjoy commercial success as “superfruits” as a result.
Grapevine leaves themselves are regarded as edible (eatable). They are a component of dolmades.
Some Lepidoptera species’ larvae use grapevines as food sources.
The “Food and Agriculture Organization” (FAO) estimates that grapes are grown on over 76,000 square kilometers of land worldwide. For making wine, about 71% of grapes are used. 27% of the fruit is used fresh, and 2% is used dry. Grape juice is produced in part for use as a “100% natural” and “no added sugar” sweetener for fruits that are canned. About 2% more land is being used for vineyards every year.
The acreage utilized to cultivate grapes for wine production are shown on the following list of top wine producers, although country size is obviously a limiting factor, along with the economic demand for their product.
- Spain – 11,750 km²
- France – 8,640 km²
- Italy – 8,270 km²
- Turkey – 8,120 km²
- United States – 4,150 km²
- Iran – 2,860 km²
- Romania – 2,480 km²
- Portugal – 2,160 km²
- Argentina – 2,080 km²
- Australia – 1,642 km²
Researchers compared the diets of western nations and discovered that while the French typically consume more animal fat than other nations, the prevalence of heart disease is still low there. Numerous studies believe that the French consume more red wine than any other nation. Something about grapes helps the body produce less cholesterol. This lessens the risk of artery blockage. Red wine consumption is not advised in large quantities, but three to four glasses a week is healthy and encouraged.
Grapes of varied hues have advantages. White wine does not have the same health advantages as red wine does. This is so because only red wine is fermented with the grape skins, which contain many of the beneficial elements.
By means of evolution, white grapes are formed from green grapes. Anthocyanin production is stopped by modifications to two genes. Red grapes are colored green by anthocyanin.
Currants, raisins, and sultanas
Any dried grape is a raisin. A currant is a dried Zante grape. The name is a corruption of the French raisin de Corinthe (Corinth grape). A sultana was originally a raisin made from a specific type of grape of Turkish origin. The word is now used for raisins made from common North American grapes and chemically treated to resemble the traditional sultana.
Note that, while raisin is a French loanword, the word in French means the fresh fruit. Grappe (Where the English word grape comes from) means the bunch (as in une grappe de raisin).
Note also that currant has also come to mean to the blackcurrant and redcurrant. These two berries completely unrelated to grapes.