One of the most popular among the regularly featuring table fruits, grapes are widely considered as the “queen of fruits” since earlier times. These tiny berries of the Europe and Mediterranean origin are the storehouse of numerous promoting phytonutrients such as polyphenolic antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
No wonder why so many of us often include them in our diet; be it as a fresh table fruit, dry fruits (raisins), juice, or simply in salads!
Botanically, they are small, round berries growing in clusters on a perennial and deciduous woody vine of the genus, Vitis. Today, they widely cultivated under supervised orchards and vineyards all around the world.
In structure, each grape berry features semi-translucent flesh encased inside a smooth, thin skin. Some varieties contain edible seeds, while others are seedless. The color of the berry is because of the presence of polyphenolic pigments in them. Red or purple berries are rich in anthocyanins while white-green berries compose more of tannins, especially, catechin. Interestingly, these ant ioxidant compounds concentrated densely in the skin and seeds! The three most important species of grapes grown around the world are; European (Vitis vinifera), North American (Vitis labrusca, and Vitis rotundifolia), and French hybrids.
Some of the popular green cultivars are Thompson seedless, sugarone, and calmeria. Red varieties include emperor, red globe, cardinal, and flame seedless. Concord and zinfandel are some of the most flavorful blue-black cultivars.
Commercially, many cultivars of grapes are grown for different purposes either to be eaten as table fruit, fresh or dried (raisin, currant, sultana) or in wine production.