Want to get the most out of your grape purchases from the store? Follow our tips below.
We all want to get the most out of our food purchase, especially in light of raising prices at the grocery store.
One way we do that is knowing how to keep our food around long enough for us to enjoy it. After all any food you have to throw out is money that was wasted.
Fresh produce is usually what gets wasted the most. We want to help you with that, fruit by fruit. Today, we are focusing in on grapes and helping you extend the time you have to eat them.
🍇 Remove Loose Grapes
Do this first, when you bring your grapes from the store.
Grapes are going to fall off the stems and into the bottom of the bag. These are the grapes that usually go bad first. You don't want a bad grape to spoil the bunch. What I like to do when I bring grapes home is to remove the bunch or bunches carefully from the bag. Take out all the grapes on the bottom, check to see if they are still good and consume those first - I usually eat them immediately!
💧 Don't Wash Them
I don't mean never wash your grapes. When I worked at a produce market, I would always wear gloves when I handled grapes, otherwise my hands would get all dirty. It's surprising how dirty grapes can be, especially grapes coming from South America.
What I am saying that you shouldn't wash grapes until you are ready to eat them. And only wash what you plan on eating. If you put wet grapes back into the fridge this could lead to mold problems.
Grapes have a natural covering on them, what is called bloom. This is what protects the grapes from the sun when growing. Isn't that neat the grapes produce their own sunscreen! The bloom easily wipes off when handled or washed. When that happens the grapes tend to go bad quicker even when stored in the fridge.
🚫 Don't Remove from Stem
The less you handle the grapes the better. Keep them on them stem until eating or as close to eating as possible. It might be tempting to remove them all from the stem when you get home and put them in a different container, but that is going to shorten their lifespan.
❄️ Store Them in the Fridge
Grapes last longest when they are keep at a cold temperature. One of the biggest concerns of grape growers is getting the field heat off the fruit. Grapes ripen in the heat of the summer. The quicker the pickers can get the grapes from the field to cold storage and down to temperature the longer they last.
They aren't going to go immediately bad if you don't have them in the fridge. They don't need to be refrigerated like a highly perishable item like raw meat. Sometimes stores will sell them outside of refrigeration either due to space limitation or they have a sale going on. I try to buy grapes at the store that are refrigerated but if there is a sale, most likely these grapes are going super fast and haven't spend too much time at room temperature, so don't worry about it.
When storing them in the fridge make sure nothing heavy is going to fall on them. Keeping them towards the back of the fridge and not in the door will keep them the coolest. But don't forget them back there!
If you follow these tips, your grapes could last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Companies that sell grapes have a much better cooling system that you have at home, so they can store grapes for many weeks post harvest.
🎒 Without Fridge
Let's say you are taking grapes as a snack for the day and you will be able to keep them cold. Try not to wash them until right before eating if you can. If you won't have water access it's ok, just try to dry them before putting them in whatever container you are taking them in.
I would definitely not remove them from the vine, again you don't want to over handle them.
🥶 Freeze Them
Many people like to freeze grapes. This will for sure allow them to last longer. It will change the texture of the fruit. Many don't mind as they like to eat them frozen as a special treat on a hot day.
If you are going to freeze them, you can wash them first. But make sure they are completely dry before freezing them, so you don't create excess ice on the outside of the grape. And package them so they are air tight as you can get them.
🍂 Buying in Season
While this tip won't help your grapes last longer, it will help your buying decisions. Grape season in the United States runs from May to January. The rest of the year they are coming from South America. Since they are being shipped from so far away they may not be as fresh. Also when you get to the end of the US season, they won't be as fresh.
📅 Peak time for buying grapes for freshness, flavor, and quality is August and September. The best tasting grapes come out during those months.
Read the bag. Where are the grapes coming from? If they are from South America, then you might want to consider limiting your purchase. Buy less at a time. Examine the quality of the fruit. Does it have bloom on it - that white covering we talked about earlier? If it looks pretty rubbed off, the grapes probably won't last you long. Or if you see a lot of grapes on the bottom of the bag.
🛒 Grapes to Try
When shopping for grapes look for these varieties and give them a try. Make sure to come back and leave a comment if you do.