GRAPES - Grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) are berry fruit belonging to the grapevine family (Vitaceae). Grapes come originally from south-west Asia.
Grapes are cultivated on vines (climbing shrubs). Dessert grapes are very carefully cut by hand and individual sick or damaged berries are removed. They are harvested at full ripeness, i.e. at the climacteric stage, as they do not post-ripen well after harvesting at the preclimacteric stage. The "Brix" value is used to determine the time of harvest.
The berries on the panicles (commonly known as "bunches") are usually covered by a whitish wax layer or bloom which can easily be wiped off and provides natural protection.
Before being eaten, dessert grapes should be washed thoroughly in order to remove any traces of spray.
Grapes are cultivated in the open, under glass (Belgium, Netherlands) and in plastic tunnels. Cultivation under glass and in tunnels allows harvesting times to be extended.
The following varieties may be distinguished:
- White varieties (green, yellow to amber-colored varieties)
- Dark varieties (red, blue to black varieties) which get their color from anthocyanins (oenin)
- Waltham Cross grapes, so named because they were first exported to South Africa from the English town of this name. These have a stronger skin, are not so tightly packed on the bunch and are thus less susceptible to spoilage
- Muscat grapes, which have a musky aroma, which occur as both white and dark varieties
- Varieties with up to 5 seeds, although the seedless varieties are more popular
- Commodity Name:
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT (Fresh)