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(BPT) - Grapes are one of the most popular fresh fruits in the supermarket and prized as a healthy snack. But did you know that grapes can also add flavor, freshness and texture to a number of sweet and savory autumn dishes? Additionally, they offer health benefits you may not have considered.
Grapes from California are in season May through January. Today, 99% of all table grapes commercially grown in the U.S. come from California, thriving in its ideal climate of warm sunny days and cool nights to provide plump, juicy fruit bursting with flavor.
Sound delicious? Consider these excellent reasons for adding green, red and/or black Grapes from California to your menus as we transition into fall.
1. They’re a healthy snack.
When it comes to eating on the go, grapes are a natural, portable and delicious alternative to processed foods. They contain zero fat, they’re very low in sodium, they offer beneficial plant compounds, and they can help boost your energy anytime, anywhere. Since they’re about 82% water, they also help quench your thirst and keep your body hydrated too.
2. They play well with others.
The taste profile of grapes pairs well with many other foods, adding a sweet, slightly acidic boost of flavor — and a delightfully crisp, juicy texture — to a variety of different dishes. For example, grapes pair perfectly with the salty taste of goat cheese, the peppery bite of arugula greens, and the savory umami of nuts in this pizza.
3. They’re good for your heart.
Studies suggest that eating grapes every day can contribute to heart health in both men and women. Grapes help promote the relaxation of blood vessels for healthy circulation. Grapes are also a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols — which may help counter oxidative stress — plus vitamin K, all of which help to support heart health.
4. They offer variety.
Grapes come in a wide range of colors, flavors, textures, shapes and sizes. In fact, growers produce more than 80 different varieties you can explore, each with its own characteristics and flavor profile. That means they’re fun to experiment with as a snack and in a range of recipes.
5. They may help support immune health.
As fall approaches, many of us are taking steps to ensure we stay healthy through the colder months of the year. Eating grapes can help us keep our immune system healthy by contributing hydration, antioxidants and other polyphenols, and vitamin K. Flavonoids — natural compounds found in grapes — are being studied for their promising antiviral potential. Resveratrol, a natural grape compound, has also been linked to promising effects on immune function.
6. They’re versatile across recipes.
Grapes contribute a delightful layer of flavor to a wide span of different dishes from appetizers to salads to dessert. They can be roasted, grilled, pickled or prepared in a number of other tasty ways. For example, Brussels sprouts may become your new favorite veggie when roasted with grapes, which provide a delicate sweetness that complements the stronger flavored vegetables.
7. They are decorative too.
The natural beauty of grapes makes it easy to use them to help liven up a table or floral arrangement. Combine grapes and greenery for a festive table centerpiece, or place a bowl of colorful grapes on a coffee table for a lovely and edible accent.
Looking for more delicious autumn recipes featuring table grapes? Check out new and scrumptious ideas for your fall table from the GrapesfromCalifornia.com.