The grape is one of the oldest fruits in history. Grape seeds have been found in mummy cases in Egyptian tombs that are more than 3000 years old. At the time of Homer, the Greeks were using wines, and the Bible tells of grape cultivation in the time of Noah. North America was known to the Norse sea rovers as “Vinland” because the grapevines were so abundant.
The Mission Fathers of California were the first to grow the European type of grape. This variety became known as the Mission grape and remained the choice variety until 1860 when other choice European varieties were introduced into this country.
Between 6,000 and 8,000 of grapes have been named and described, but only 40 to 50 varieties are important commercially. Table grapes must be attractive in appearance and sweet and firm. Large size, brilliant color, and beautifully formed bunches are the qualities desired.
There are four classes of grapes: wine grapes, table grapes, raisin grapes, and sweet (non-fermented) juice grapes. The big grape producing states, in addition to California, are New York, Michigan, and Washington.
Domestic grapes are available from late July through March, and the peak is from August to November. Grapes are also imported from February through May from Argentina, Chile, and South Africa.
Emperor grapes are a Thanksgiving and Christmas favorite. The clusters are large, long, and well-filled. The fruit is uniform, large, elongated obovoid, light red to reddish-purple, seeded, neutral in flavor, and the skin tough. They are on the October and well into March.
Thompson Seedless were first grown in California near Yuba City by Mr. William Thompson and are now very popular. The clusters are large, long, and well-filled; the fruit is medium-sized and ellipsoidal. The color is greenish-white to light golden. They are seedless, firm, and tender, and are very sweet when fully ripened. They are moderately tender skinned. Thompson Seedless grapes are on the market from late June into November.
The Tokay variety grows in large clusters that are conical and compact. The grapes are large, ovoid with a flattened end, and brilliant red to dark red. They are seeded, very firm, neutral in flavor and have thick skins. Tokay grapes are on the market from September into November.
Other table varieties include Almeria, Cornichon, Red and White Malaga, Ribier, Lady Fingers, Catawba, Delaware, and Niagara.
The principal juice grape is the Concord, a leading native grape, that is blue-black in color, medium-sized, and tough-skinned. It is also used as a table grape and is on the market in September and October.
Grapes are used throughout the world for curative purposes. In France, it not uncommon for people to use grapes as their sole diet for many days during the grape season. . The low incidence of cancer in these areas has been attributed to the high percentage of grapes in the daily diet. The therapeutic value of grapes is said to be due to a high magnesium content. Magnesium is an element that for good bowel movements. Grape are wonderful for re-placing this chemical element.
The juice of the Concord grape is one of the best to use. Juice from other grapes, however, can be used as well. If the juice is too sweet juice or upsets the stomach a little lemon juice can be added. Mix with pineapple juice or any citrus fruit, if desired. Used in combination with whey, soy milk, and egg yolk, it makes a wonderful tonic forthe blood. When purchasing bottled grape juice, be sure it is unsweetened.
Grape skins and seeds are good for bulk, but sometimes are irritating in conditions of colitis and ulcers, so they should not be eaten by persons who have these conditions.
When chewed well, bitter grape skins make a good laxative. There is also a laxative element found in the seeds.
Grapes are wonderful for promoting action of the bowel, cleansing the liver, and aiding kidney function. They are alkalinizing to the blood, and high in water content, so they add to the fluids necessary to eliminate hardened deposits that may have settled in any part of the body. They are wonderful for the kidneys and the bladder and are very soothing to the nervous system. The high content of grape sugar gives quick energy. Dark grapes are high in iron, which makes them good blood builders.
As grapes do not mix well with other foods, it is best to eat them alone. Make sure they are ripe, as the green acids are not good the blood. They also make a wonderful snack for children-they are sweet, and much better for them than candy!
Crushed grapes may be used as a pack on a tumor or growth. Any infected area will improve after a grape pack is applied. It can be placed on the area of disturbance for a period of three to four days.
A one-day-a-week grape diet is good, during the grape season. It can be used when elimination is desired.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Fat: 1.8 g
Carbohydrates: 73.5 g
Calcium: 75 mg
Phosphorus: 92 mg
Iron: 2.6 mg
Vitamin A: 3301 I.U.
Riboflavin: .12 mg
Niacin: 1.9 mg
Ascorbic acid: 17 mg