BY : DR. KAVIRAJ KHIALANI- CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF
A grape is a fruit, botanically a berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes, used for making wine, jam, grape juice, jelly, grape seed extract, vinegar, and grape seed oil, or dried as raisins, currants and sultanas. They have said to be introduced by The Phoenicians carried the grape into France about 600 BC.
The Romans planted grapes in the Rhine valley not later than the 2nd century. The nutrients in grapes may help protect against cancer, eye problems, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. Resveratrol is a key nutrient in grapes that may offer health benefits. Grapes are a good source of fiber, potassium, and a range of vitamins and other minerals.
It is said that grapes have been around for almost 66 million years Amazingly, the oldest-known grapes grew in central India long before humans existed. Scientists discovered fossilised grapes, which were dug from sediment, that have since suggested an age of around 66
million years plus now.
While some still try and look out for the reason why it is addressed as a grape? the simple reason being A grape is a small, sweet fruit that grows in clusters on a vine. Dried grapes are known as raisins, and this versatile berry is used to make many other products, including jelly, juice, and wine.
Experts believe the word grape comes from an Old French verb, graper, “catch with a hook” or “pick grapes off the vine.” Grapes come in many colors, including green, red, black, yellow, pink, and purple. “White” grapes are actually green. “White” grapes are actually green in color, and are evolutionarily derived from the purple grape.
Mutations in two regulatory genes of white grapes turn off production of anthocyanin’s, which are responsible for the color of purple grapes. While it is also believed that Grapes are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps balance fluids in your body. Potassium can help bring down high blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Most people don’t get enough of this nutrient, so eating grapes can help fill the gap. Talking of how many varieties of grapes are known to us? Humans have been cultivating grape vines (Vitis vinifera, a different species than the table or concord grape) for wine since the Neolithic era.
There are now more than 10,000 wine grape varieties in the world, but only a few varieties have achieved widespread popularity and acclaim. Another term associated with grapes is bloom, known as the “bloom,” the waxy, silvery-white substance on the surface of grapes, blueberries, and certain plums acts as a barrier against insects and bacteria and helps to seal in the fruit’s moisture.
The bloom is also a sign of freshness, since it fades with time and handling. Grape is a versatile crop that can adjust to any type of climate. The ideal climate is in the Mediterranean region. In Europe, America, Australia and Russia, it is grown under temperate conditions, while in
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, China, Pakistan, Israel and North India it is grown under sub-tropical conditions.
Are grapes good for skin? Yet another query which pops up from most foodies and connoisseurs, and the reply being filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants, grapes can help to revitalize your skin. In fact, they can even protect your skin from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation and free radicals that can, on a lesser scale, cause wrinkles and dark spots, grapes are truly good for the skin.
While they are great for overall health, grapes are loaded with sugar and fats, which makes them the wrong fruit to eat while on a strict weight loss diet. 100 grams of grapes may contain 67 calories, and 16 grams of sugar, which means regular intake of these tiny delights could cause weight gain.
Can grapes make you drunk? Well, grapes contain no alcohol (or very little, if they have begun to “rot” (ferment) they may have trace amounts of alcohol, but your stomach would fill up before you could eat enough to get even the little bit drunk). So the answer is, you can’t get drunk from eating fresh grapes.
Here are a few Health Benefits of GRAPES:
- Grapes are a great immunity boosting fruit and useful ingredient in a number of ways.
- Grapes also aid in weight loss in some cases, if used and consumed wisely and in moderation with a balanced angle.
- Grapes help in our digestion as well, need to have them once in a while to benefit from its qualities and plus points.
- Grapes helps to lower cholesterol and regulates the blood pressure in the body as well.
- Grapes help strengthen our bones and also are also considered good for hydration.
- Grapes are rich in health and also protecting anti- oxidants.
- Grapes increase good cholesterol levels in our body.
- Grapes support muscle repair in our body and wear and tear is taken care of.
- Grapes are also considered to be good for the skin and anti- aging as well.
- Grapes improve the functioning of the human brain and overall supports the well-being being good for the eyes as well.
Here are a few Easy to Prepare – Yummy Recipes using Grapes:
Recipe-1] CITRIC GRAPE COOLER
- Green grapes- 200 gms, cleaned and washed
- Amla/indian gooseberry- 1-2 pieces, boiled, mashed
- Lemon juice-2 tsp
- Sugar syrup-2-3 tsp
- Mint leaves- 10-12 no
- Fresh basil leaves- 4-5 no
- Ginger juice- 1 tsp
- Crushed ice- 1-2 cups
- Aerated drink- as desired, suggested to use sprite/ 7 up
- Prepare all the ingredients for the citrus cooler drink recipe.
- In a blender combine together the green grapes, the Amla pulp, few mint leaves and basil leaves and adding a little crushed ice and few drops of water, blend it into a nice mash.
- Add a little roasted crushed cumin powder/ black salt as well into the prepared pulp or rub it on the rim of the glass being served.
- Place some crushed ice at the base of the glass, add in the prepared grape mash, add some basil leaves, sugar syrup to balance the taste, top it up with the chilled aerated beverage, lightly stir and enjoy the cooler.
Recipe-2] GRAPE AND SPICY CAULI ROAST
- Cauliflower- 400gms, cleaned, florets
- Red grapes/California grapes- 250 gms
For the marination:
- Olive oil/ oil-2 tbsp.
- Mustard paste- 1 tsp
- Lime juice- 2 tsp
- Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
- Mixed herbs- ½ tsp
- Chili flakes-1/2 tsp
- Roasted crushed cumin powder-1/2 tsp
- Roasted crushed fennel seeds-1 tsp
- Brown sugar-2 tsp
- White vinegar-2 tsp
- Parlsey-2-3 tbsp. chopped
To serve with:
- Yogurt- mint- garlic dip/sauce
- Garlic mayonnaise
- Minted yogurt sauce
- Garlic tahini dip
- Schezuan mayonnaise dip
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and assemble all the ingredients for the recipe.
- Prepare the cauliflower florets, blanch them in boiling water for 3- 4 mins, remove and cool.
- Grease a roasting tray with a little oil/butter and prepare the marination on the tray add in the cauliflower and grapes and rub them with the marination.
- Place the tray in the oven for roasting and cooking the cauliflower and grapes for around 20-25 mins, turn it occasionally inside to ensure even cooking.
- Remove once done, serve it warm on a platter/bowl and place assorted dips and sauces alongside to enjoy the Cauli and grape recipe.
Recipe-3] HEALTHY GRAPE SALAD
For the base of the salad:
- Iceberg lettuce leaves/ Lollorosso lettuce- 1 cup mix
For the body of the salad:
- Green grapes/ red grapes- 1 cup assorted
- Green apple- 1 no, cut into slices
- Pear- 1 small, sliced
- Cherry tomatoes- 3-4 cut 1 x 2
- Walnuts- 5-6 no
- Black currants/ raisins- 2-3 tsp
For the dressing of the salad:
- Olive oil- 2-3 tbsp.
- Mustard paste-1 tsp
- Brown sugar- 1-2 tsp
- Lime juice- 2-3- tsp
- Ginger juliennes- 2 tsp
- Honey- 2-3 tsp
- Crushed black pepper- 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- White vinegar-1 -2 tsp
For the garnish of the salad:
- Fresh herbs/ parsley/mint/ basil leaves- as desired
- Assorted seeds- pumpkin/ chia/ sunflower seeds-1-2 tsp
- Assemble all the ingredients for the salad recipe.
- In a mixing bowl /jar combine together the ingredients for the dressing and give them all a nice shake/stir and keep aside.
- Assemble the salad leaves for the base on a serving plate/bowl.
- In a mixing bowl, place all the ingredients for the body of the salad and drizzle in the dressing just before serving, give the salad a nice toss and place it on the base of lettuce leaves.
- Garnish the salad appropriately and serve it immediately.
Recipe-4] NUTTY CHEESE WRAPPED GRAPES
- Green grapes/ red grapes- 150 gms, cleaned and washed
For the marination on the grapes:
- Olive oil- 2-3 tsp
- Mixed herbs- ½ tsp
- Chili flakes- ½ tsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chaat masala-1/2 tsp
- Chopped coriander-2- 3 tsp
- Lime juice-2 tsp
- Honey-2 tsp
For the coating on the grapes:
- Cream cheese- 1 cup
- Chopped green chilies-1 tsp
- Chili flakes-1/2 tsp
- Crushed black pepper-1/2 tsp
- Parsley- 1 tbsp. chopped
For the final coating:
- Assorted nuts to be chopped
- Pista-2-3 tsp
- Almonds- 2-3 tsp
- Cashews-2-3 tsp
- Wanuts-2-3 tsp
- Prepare all the elements of the recipe and keep it ready, choose slightly bigger sized grapes for this recipe and not the very small ones.
- In a mixing bowl, prepare the marination for the grapes, apply it well and keep aside for 10 mins.
- We can now prepare the cream cheese coating mixture and coat every grape using a tong into the cream cheese and immediately roll it up into the assorted dry fruit mixture to give it a nice crusty texture and look. Place the grapes on a butter paper and refrigerate for 20- 25 mins.
- Now arrange the set chilled grapes on a serving platter and using toothpicks offer these delicacies to the guests with a glass of wine to enjoy and relish a tempting mouth burst of flavors.
Recipe-5] GRAPE ON A SWEET NOTE
Green grapes/ red grapes/ California grapes- 200 gms.
For the creamy mixture:
- Hung curd-1 cup, beaten up
- Fresh cream- 2-3 tbsp. sweetened, whipped
- Honey-2-3 tsp
For the layers in the dessert:
- Crushed digestive biscuits- 1 cup or cake crumbs/brownie crumbs can also be used.
- Sliced kiwi fruit- ½ cup
- Sliced strawberries- ½ cup
- Mixed fruit jam-2-3 tbsp. or marmalade/ jelly etc can be used.
- Chocolate chips- 2-3 tbsp.
- Rabdi/custard/phirni/Aamras etc can also be added.
For the nutty flavor and crunch:
- Coconut/ peanut/ mix fruit / cashew chikki- 2-3 tbsp. crushed.
Mint/ cherries/ assorted nuts/ seeds for garnish.
- Prepare all the elements of the recipe and keep them ready.
- Decide the layers of the dessert and pre-prep all the contents.
- Using chilled glasses start with the curd mixture/ any choice as listed above can be layered.
- Place the crushed digestive biscuits/cookies in between add fresh fruits, sliced grapes in the layers along with others, add chocolate chips etc and repeat the layers.
- Chill the glasses for around 1-2 hours in the fridge and then serve it garnish with assorted nuts/ chikki/ mint/ seeds etc and enjoy the dessert.
Recipe-6] GRAPE AND BERRY SMOOTHIE COMFORT
- California grapes/ red /black grapes- 150 gms
- Dates- 4-5 no chopped
- Soy milk/ milk- 2-3 cups
- Honey- 2-3 tbsp.
- Chia seeds- 1-2 tsp soaked for 20 mins
- Raisins- 2-3 tsp
- Walnuts- 2-3 tsp
- Cranberries- 2-3 tbsp.
- Yogurt-2-3 tsp
- Banana-1 ripe, peeled and chopped
- Flax seeds- 1-2 tsp
- Prepare all the ingredients for the healthy grape smoothie recipe.
- In a blender jar, combine together the ingredients with the grapes, fruit, nuts, banana and adding little milk blend it all together.
- Adjust the texture using curd, milk, honey and dates to get a nice contrast in the taste and flavor.
- Allow the smoothie to chill for around 10-12 mins before being poured out and served. Pour the healthy shake into tall glasses, add chia seeds, assorted nuts and seeds, herbs as desired and serve it.