GrapesPosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized
Grapes are known as a tasty, nutritious treat that is rich in electrolytes and other essential nutrients. The potassium in grapes can help your body balance its level of electrolytes and help prevent episodes of gout. (1) Eaten fresh or in dried form as raisins, grapes provide other health benefits including lowering blood pressure, detoxify the liver, and act as an anti-inflammatory. (2,3)
Grapes come from the genus of plants called Vitis though most varieties come from the species Vitis vinifera.
Kingdom (Plantae) → Angiosperms → Eudicots → Rosids → Order (Vitales) → Family (Vitaceae) → Genus (Vitis) → Species (Vitis vinifera)
Grapes are an edible type of berry that grows on woody vines that use trees or other structures to climb to heights of up to 35 yards tall. The leaves are broad and range in length from two to eight inches. The grapes themselves can range in size from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half in length and can range in color from shades of green or red to purple or black. Some varieties are seedless while others contain seeds. (4)
Grapes originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago but have spread around the world. Today, they are cultivated in regions such as North Africa, parts of Asia, North and South America, as well as Australia. (5) Grapes can grow in different climates, depending on their variety. They typically require full sun and slightly acidic to neutral soil to thrive. (6)
Grapes are considered a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially of electrolytes. They are high in vitamin C, copper, vitamin B1, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. (7) While grapes contain a good amount of antioxidants in them, grapeseed extract contains an even higher concentration of flavonoid phytonutrients including oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPC’s). In fact, grapeseed extra has 95% OPC’s, making it a very potent source of a vital antioxidant. (8) Grapes also contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that is effective at fighting free-radicals in the body. (9)
Grapes are harvested for three main purposes: table (eating) grapes, wine grapes, and raisin grapes. Most vines are planted from cuttings and can take up to three years to produce viable fruit. (10) If properly maintained, a grape vine can produce fruit for over thirty years. (11) Grapes can be harvested nearly year-round depending on the weather in a given area. Harvest typically occurs in late summer through early fall. (12)
Diseases, Pests, Predators
Grapes are susceptible to some diseases and pests. Typically, black rot and powdery mildew are the most common types of infections. Aphids and Japanese beetles are the most common types of pests. Birds can be a major nuisance as they like to feed on the grapes, so netting is used to keep birds away from the vines while allowing full exposure to the sun.