The grape is the oval fruit, called berry, with more or less thick skin of a blond, red or bluish color that grows in clusters on the vine plant (Vitis Vinifera). The berries contain from two to four seeds called grape pips, the more berries grouped together they form the stalk (or stalk or racimolo) the more stalk joined together they form the bunch of grapes.
Depending on the quality, the size of a grape varies from the size of a pea to that of a walnut. The main distinction is between table grapes, grapes intended for the production of wine and grapes intended for drying.
Once it was the privilege of a few, only on the tables of the rich there were plenty of grapes, today at a reasonable price, from late summer to autumn, this delicious fruit can be found on the market. Winter grapes are not too reasonably priced because they are imported, famous are the Dutch and Brussels ones produced in greenhouses.
Italy is a major exporter of table grapes, in second place is France then Spain, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
Grapes, besides being a delicious fruit, are also a precious ally for our health. Those who decide to supplement their diet with grapes for a short period of time will experience an improvement in the functions of the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Adding grapes to your diet enriches and cleanses your blood and gives your complexion a radiant appearance. Those suffering from diabetes, intestinal disorders or who are taking a slimming treatment should limit the quantities because of its high sugar content.
With the name of raisins or raisins are usually identified all the qualities of dried grapes, however, it should be noted that this fruit has different qualities, berries of different colors and sizes that depend on both the original color of the fresh grapes and the various methods of drying. The Corinthian grape has a dark color and small grains because originally this fruit has blue-violet berries. California grapes are prepared with white grapes that change colour to brown when they wither and acquire bluish reflections during drying.
The main exporters of raisins are Greece, Turkey, Iran, Spain and California. Raisins, unlike sultanas, still have seeds, which makes them little used in confectionery, for this reason, over time and the need to have an excellent product, this variety has almost completely disappeared from the market.
The sultanas (and raisins) are obtained by the same process: the bunches are left on the vines until they pass the right point of ripeness, then harvested and dried in the sun to obtain a more intense aroma.
The artificial processing of specialized industries provides a treatment based on sulfuric acid that keeps the grapes softer for longer and prevents deterioration, this procedure is required by law only if the inscription “sulfur” appears on the packets of grapes. Of course, this industrial process requires shorter drying times than natural drying times, even if time savings and the use of chemicals are detrimental to the quality of the final product. The sultanas must be kept in a cool, ventilated and dry place, otherwise they will dry out too much and become hard and unusable.
The sultanas are used to stuff panettone, cakes and sweeten creams, through cooking (as in the case of puddings) this fruit releases all its sweetness and original fragrance. It can be added to salads, fruit salads, soups, game dishes etc.. Before use, the grapes must be soaked in lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes, then dried and incorporated into the dish in cooking or softened in wine or liquor according to the instructions of the individual recipes (especially those for desserts).
Gooseberries (Ribes grossularia or Ribes uva crispa) belong to the Sassifragacee family, which ripens between June and September on a shrub between 50 cm and 2 m high. This quality of grape, while containing a high percentage of sugar, except when it is very ripe, is discarded by the consumer because it is considered too harsh. The berries are covered with a thorny down, have an amber color with green and white veins and are consumed fresh only after maturation more frequently this fruit is used to prepare compotes and jams.