There’s no denying that grapes are one of the most popular fruits available in America. They’re sweet, a little tangy, can be frozen to make excellent ice cubes and even refreshing smoothies. Even better, they’re a great source of Vitamin C and K, while bursting with anti-oxidants one cup of grapes equates to more than a quarter of your recommended daily intake of these vital vitamins.
Whether you’re looking to use them in a salad or even pair them with some delicious savory foods, you’ll need to know the best way to keep these moreish pieces of fruit fresher, for longer – because there are fewer things more frustrating than doing your shopping, only to open your fridge to a fruit graveyard only days later.
How to Pick the Freshest Grapes
First thing’s first- when it comes to getting the most longevity out of your fruit, you’ll need to start at the store, by picking out the freshest grapes available. These tips and tricks are a great place to start if you’re wondering how to pick out the best grapes from your local store:
- Pick grapes with firmly connected stems
If you’re able to, give one of the grapes a very gentle tug. If they come away from their stem straight away, chances are your grapes are a little too ripe and will likely begin to rot, soon. If you can’t give them a quick test, then check the bottom of the punnet (grape basket) for any loose grapes. A lot of loose grapes indicate that they’ll be falling away from the stem too easily.
- Look for yellow-toned green grapes or lovely, plump purple grapes
There’s a huge amount of variation in grape types- over 8,000 in fact- but these two are the most common, so therefore are the most likely types you’ll see in your supermarket. Red grapes should also have no signs of green to their skin, or a brown discoloration in green grapes.
- Avoid any grapes that show signs of mold
Signs of mold in grapes include brown spots and brown discolorations. This means that they’re rotting and are already past their peak, leading to a much shorter lifespan in your home. Of course, if you spot any fungus on the grapes (which looks a little like cotton), then they’re definitely past their sell-by date.
- Smell your fruit
No, it’s not a strange fetish people have. Checking the smell of your grapes lets you verify whether there is a somewhat vinegar-based scent. Grapes are supposed to taste sweet and they come with a sweet smell to match this- fruit past their best will have a sourer taste and smell.
How to Store Fresh Grapes
So, you’ve got yourself the best grapes available and now it’s time to see how they manage at home. Here’s where the real test comes in- grapes are somewhat known for their short lifespan and many people struggle with getting the most out of their purchase. Follow these tips to get the most out of your grapes, so they last longer and taste fresher than ever:
- Keep your grapes in their packaging for as long as possible
If you don’t need to open them straight away, then avoid doing so. Supermarkets and corporates in general will have done their research and invested in the right material and packaging to keep their grapes fresher, for longer. After all, they need to get from their farms to your local shop in one piece so it’s not to be taken lightly!
- Dispose of any grapes that are already deteriorating
It’s unlikely that you’ll get the perfect batch- even grapes straight from the vine can have some pieces that are already discolored. That’s not to say that they’re all going to be bad, straight away.
Just pick out those pieces that have some discoloration, brown spots and may have some shrinkage (similar to a balloon that is losing its helium). Keeping these will cause the rest of your bunch to ripen, faster. Any grapes with mold will also spread the rot to other parts of the fruit, so try to de-clutter your grapes as soon as possible.
- Place your grapes in a high humidity drawer
Your fridge is naturally the best place to pop these, since they slow the growth of bacteria, allowing your fruit to last longer. Within the fridge, the best place to keep your fruit is in a high-humidity drawer, also known as the crisper drawer (the back of the fridge is a good option, for those who don’t have a fruit and vegetable drawer).
- Keep grapes away from any fresh fruit and veg that has a strong odor
Believe it or not, grapes are very likely to pick up any odor, which can make your grapes taste more than a little off- especially since we’re more likely to be able to taste something when the scent is near (our brains often confuse the two senses, after all). Garlic, leeks and onions are all very odorous vegetables and are very likely to transfer this scent over to your grapes, if left nearby.
Alternatively, if you fancy trying out a few, different combinations, you could try leaving your grapes near some other odorous fruit, which will alter the eating experience of your grapes in a positive way. Berries are particularly good for a little taste-experimentation!
- Keep grapes away from bananas
This might sound a little specific, but did you know that bananas produce ethylene gas that causes nearby fruits to ripen faster? As a rule, you should therefore always keep your bananas separate from all your other fruit. Of course, if you need your fresh grapes to ripen a little faster for a recipe you’re looking into, bananas can be a great way to encourage your bunch to move along.