We all have heard the story of the fox and the grapes where the fox did not get the grapes and gave up saying the grapes are sour. However, imagine if he would have reached the grapes. Do you know how much he would have benefited?
Grapes are a seasonal fruit and available in India during the winter months generally from December to February/March. While imported varieties are available other than these months too, like other fruits and vegetables, grapes too would taste the best as well as provide the maximum benefit when consumed according to the season.
They contains about 65-85% of water, 10-33% sugar (glucose and fructose), vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, A, C, E, K and folic acids in addition to essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. They also contain flavonoids that are very powerful antioxidants.
As a thumb rule fruits with darker coloured skins are believed to have more nutrients than lighter fruits. this is because they contain phytochemicals and research has shown that the darker the fruit, the more phytochemicals it contains. As phytochemicals have lots of highly beneficial properties, such as helping to protect against cancer, being anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory, darker coloured fruit works out as being more nutritious. The same applies to grapes too. The black variety contains more antioxidants than the red or green variety.
Besides the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of grapes, regular (seasonal of course!) consumption of grapes provide the following benefits
- Strengthening bone health
- Reducing migraine
- Keeps hearth healthy
- Maintains eye health
- Helps build immunity
- Good anti ageing agents
Here are some of the other benefits of grapes and some small tips on how I use them to help with certain ailments.
Most people with kids at home will agree how much time is spent on tracking the bowel frequency, consistencies etc. Often since kids are too busy playing or running around they tend avoid emptying their bowels, which could lead to constipation. My kids too are just like this but grape season is one time when I’m not too worried since grapes act as a natural laxative as they are rich in sugar, organic acid, and cellulose. I include grapes in the kiddos’ tiffins (Especially on days I get up late and mornings are so hurried) during the season as well as the evening snack.
Quick tip – Soak 7 raisins (dried grapes) in ¼ cup of water overnight and give the water and raisins every morning to kids who suffer from constipation or pain while passing stool.
Many people especially women experience fatigue for no specific reason. This is one of the initial symptoms of anemia. Lack of iron can make you sluggish and the mind too doesn’t work as quickly. Having a bowlful of grapes will instantly make you feel fresher due to its iron, mineral and sugar content.
Grapes are diuretic in nature and help in reducing the acid from the system. This reduces the unwanted pressure from the kidneys and keeps them working properly.
Quick tip – Sometimes kids complain of burning sensation while passing urine on days they have not had enough water. This generally happens in winter when the kiddos don’t tend to feel thirsty. A glass of grape juice works just like an alkalizer by reducing the acidity and thus the burning sensation. (Seek medical help if this does not work since the burning sensation is also a symptom of an infection)
Green grapes act as a very good toner for the skin and help in evening out the skin tone. During the season just cut a couple of grapes in half and rub them over your face and neck and wash. Along with the toning effect, you will feel fresh with a good fragrance too.
Choosing grapes – Choosing grapes is also very important because often if we just hurriedly pick up a bunch we end up with sour or damaged grapes. Colour is a good indicator while you choose grapes. Green grapes are the sweetest and best flavored when they are yellow-green in color and black grapes will be most flavorful when they have a full, rich color. Also, inspect the entire bunch to avoid picking a cluster with mold and rot building near the bottom. Steer clear of bruised, crushed, spotted, and molding fruit. I generally pick a couple of grapes from the bunch and taste it before purchasing it.
Storing grapes – Keep grapes in the refrigerator, ideally in a perforated plastic bag. Also, keep the fruits as spread out to avoid crushing and bruising. One tip that I didn’t know of – High-ethylene fruits like apples, kiwis and pears will hasten the grape’s decay so be mindful of the other fruits placed next to grapes. Use a paper towel to pat-dry grapes once disinfected, and only wash grapes directly before consumption. Otherwise, water promotes growth of mould and mildew.
Washing grapes – I find grapes to be one of the most difficult fruits to wash due to the white waxy substance which is generally covered with dust and probably pesticides etc. On research I figured out the white wax is actually produced by the grape itself to prevent moisture loss. So by itself it is not harmful but the pesticide residue and dust that it attracts sure is. Due to this the regular method of washing other fruits and veggies using water and vinegar does not work. Here are the steps to follow to thoroughly wash grapes
- Remove the grapes from the stem, give them a quick rinse, and place them in a wide, shallow bowl
- Sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons of salt on the grapes
- Sprinkle another 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda
- Mix this vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute
- Finally rinse well under the tap to remove all traces of salt and baking soda
Something for the kiddos : Grapes freeze exceptionally well and make for a treat similar to a popsicle.
Banner image courtesy : https://www.flickr.com/photos/peter_2cv/4061464183/
References : http://naturesnurtureblog.com/how-to-wash-grapes-the-right-way/