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How to Store Grapes to Keep Them Fresh

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Grapes are a versatile fruit and they make a delicious snack food whenever a sweet craving hits. Knowing how to store grapes means you can buy plenty at a time and they should stay ripe, crisp, and delicious for as long as possible.

Not only are grapes a popular gift for someone in a hospital, but they're also the foundation of wine! So, whether your preference is red, purple, or green grapes, read on to learn more about storing them and why they're so good for you.

Green and red grapes in a white bowl.
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Ah, grapes - one of the most versatile fruits of all! You can use them in all kinds of recipes from cakes to fruit salads, parfaits, jams, jellies, and beverages.

In fact, grapes also feature in some savory recipes and not just in their dehydrated raisin state. I love to make Elizabethan chicken, which is sliced chicken breast in a nutmeg-spiked cream sauce that includes halved green grapes for a hint of sweetness.

You can buy this delicious fruit from pretty much any grocery store or farmer's market and there are different varieties. They range in color from pale green to dark purple and there are both seeded and seedless grapes to choose from.

Did you know there are also red, yellow, and even dark blue grapes, each kind offering a slightly different flavor?

There are varieties known as table grapes which are what most grocery stores carry. They're usually eaten fresh or made into grape juice. And then you have grapes better suited to winemaking, as well as special varietals such as cotton candy grapes which taste like, you've guessed it - cotton candy.

If you love the sweetness of fresh grapes, you might like to try a Chinese tanghulu recipe that involves coating fresh fruit in a sweet, crunchy glaze. Tanghulu is perfect for special occasions and the kids love it.

You can also use this fruit as a garnish on your favorite dessert recipes. I bet they'd be good as a decoration on mini lemon cheesecakes.

What are Grapes?

Botanically, grapes (Vitis Vinifera) are classed as a berry. They can be enjoyed raw or used in a myriad of tasty recipes. This fruit grows in clusters and it's believed grape cultivation dates back at least 8,000 years, although they've likely been around for millions of years. Peru exports more grapes ($1.25 billion worth in 2021) than any other country, followed by Chile and then the Netherlands.

This fruit is rich in resveratrol and other polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant. A trace amount of iron is also found in grapes. A cup of grapes gives you approximately 62 calories, Vitamins C and K, potassium, and manganese.

You can find grapes year-round in the produce section of the grocery store, although the peak season for them in the United States runs from August to October. They range from small to large and are typically an elongated sphere shape.

How to Choose The Best Grapes

Good ones should be round and plump. Don't choose anything moldy, shriveled, or discolored. Ripe grapes are firmly attached to the stem. Once they're only loosely connected to the stem, they're beyond their prime. If you see lots of loose grapes at the bottom of the bag, this is not a good sign and I'll usually pick a different bag.

If you do spot some nice, plump ones at a discount, it's always worth grabbing extra, since they will keep for weeks in the refrigerator or months in the freezer. An organic bag of grapes costs a bit more, but they seem to be higher in resveratrol and Vitamin C. They are also typically a little sweeter.

Red grapes handing in a bunch after freshly washed.

How to Store Grapes

There are a couple of ways to store grapes, depending on how you plan to use them and when you are going to eat them:

  • The best way is to place grapes in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Bear in mind, grapes can absorb the strong odor of other foods, so keep them away from anything smelly like a cut onion or leftover fish from last night's dinner. Refrigerated grapes should last for two to three weeks.
  • You can also store them in the freezer, which is great if you enjoy snacking on frozen grapes or grabbing a handful to throw in your blender to make a breakfast smoothie. Be sure to wash and dry them first. They will keep for up to 10 months in the freezer but do not let them come in direct contact with ice. Have you tried frozen grapes? They are nature's sweet treat!
  • Even the best grapes will only stay fresh for one or two days maximum when stored at room temperature. So whenever possible, always use the refrigerator or the freezer which are easy ways to extend their shelf life.

Do you have to rinse grapes before popping them in the refrigerator? No, that would be a mistake, since excess moisture speeds up the rate of decay and will cause them to go bad faster. I always wash grapes by rinsing them under cold running water and then I pat them dry with a paper towel before serving or using them in a recipe.

Grapes need air circulation to breathe, which is why they come in a perforated plastic bag. If you were to put them in an airtight container, the high humidity inside the container would become excess moisture and cause them to spoil quicker, so don't do this. The ideal relative humidity is 90%, but they must be able to breathe.

How to Tell If Grapes Are Bad

Bad grapes will be soft, mushy, moldy, or shriveled, and they might have discolored spots on them. Once they've reached this stage, you should throw them out since they won't taste good and will probably give you some stomach issues.

Common Questions

Is the white coating on grapes mold?

Not at all. The white film you sometimes see on them is a harmless, natural, waxy coating called epicuticular wax that helps protect the fruit to keep it fresh for longer. It is perfectly safe to eat but can taste a little chalky, so most people prefer to rinse it off before eating the grapes or adding them to recipes.

Are grapes a suitable snack for kids?

Everyone knows fruit is a healthy snack for kids, but what about grapes in particular? It's recommended to cut them into pieces or mash them before giving them to a child under 4 years old, otherwise, they can be a choking hazard.

What's good to serve with them?

All kinds of grapes make a yummy addition to a fruit bowl, snack platters, or cheese boards. They are amazing with any kind of cheese, and you can add some nuts and deli meats to the platter for a well-rounded snack. I really enjoy red grapes in chicken salad recipes, or you can add them to smoothies and milkshakes, or even enjoy them frozen as an easy snack.

Red and green grapes on the counter.

Interesting Facts About Grapes

  • It takes 2½ pounds of grapes to make a single bottle of wine.
  • Dry grapes naturally turn into raisins when they're left in sunlight and their excess water content evaporates.
  • There are more than 8,000 varieties of grapes - how many have you tried?
  • It's thought the word comes from "graper" - an old French word meaning to pick off a vine or catch with a hook.
  • Table grapes have a thin skin and either tiny seeds or no seeds, while winemaking grapes have thick skins and lots of seeds.

Now you know not only how to avoid a bad bag of grapes, but also how to store them for a long time and a few fun facts you can quote to impress your friends! Whether you prefer your grapes fresh or frozen, added to your morning smoothie, or fermented into wine, there is no doubt they're an incredibly popular fruit.

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