How do seedless grapes reproduce?

A guide to growing your own grapes

Planting your own grapevine can be a fun undertaking and yield delicious rewards! Many local nurseries sell varieties such as red Flame Seedless or Crimson Seedless, green Thompson seedless or black Concord grapes for home growing. Many people often wonder how to grow grapes at home and how they can go about planting their favourite Sun World grape varieties. All of Sun World’s branded varieties are exclusively grown on our farms or those of licensed growers around the world. However, we are pretty well-versed in growing all varieties of grapes and happy to share some helpful tips to consider when planning, planting and caring for your grapevine:

Climate

Before taking up grape growing, it’s important to consider the environment they thrive in. Grapes generally require a hot and dry climate and are successfully grown in areas where the temperature range is from 15-40˚C. The climate should experience fairly mild winters, little humidity and limited annual rainfall. If your home is not in this climate, grapes may not grow well.

Soil

Soil is what will provide your grapevine with the nutrients it needs to grow. While grapes tolerate a fairly wide range of soil chemistry and conditions, there are a few things you can do to give your grapes the best soil possible:

  • Prior to planting, conduct a pH test with a commercial testing kit (available from nurseries). A pH of 5.5 – 7.0 is generally recommended for grapes.
  • Drainage is a very important part of planting grapes. To test your soil, dig a 30x30x30cm hole, fill it with water and allow it to drain for 30 minutes to an hour. Refill the hole with water and let it stand. If it has drained within 24 hours, your soil drains well enough to support healthy grapevines. If not, it may be too dry.
  • As far as soil types go, sandy loam, silt loam and clay loam drain well, contain nutritious organic matter and lie within the preferred pH range.

Planting

The best time to plant grapevines is in early spring. When choosing where to plant, it’s important to remember that roots will grow about 1-2m from the base. Therefore, a grapevine should be planted with a gap of 2.5m between it and any other plant.

Watering

When grapevines are young, proper watering is essential. Newly planted grapes need immediate watering to minimise transplant shock. Throughout the first growing season, new vines should be watered at least weekly in the absence of rainfall. Water should be sufficient to wet the soil 15-25cm beneath the surface (3-4 cups usually).

Fertilizing

When it comes to growing your own grapes, you’ll need to keep track of whether or not your grapevine is getting adequate nutrients. You can do this by checking its leaves. Dark green leaves are good. If the colour seems to be fading, add fertiliser. You can use store-bought fertiliser, or your own compost.

Trellis

As your grapevine starts to grow, building a trellis will be very important. A trellis will help to support the plant’s natural desire to climb. Teaching your vine to follow a trellis is necessary and will take a lot of patience.

Pruning

Pruning a grapevine is important for grape growing. Letting the vines continue to grow without pruning will cause them to produce little fruit. In your plant’s first growing season, trim back most of the shoots leaving only two to four to grow. Over time, continue to prune branches that have already produced fruit. Pruning during spring is recommended.

Harvesting

A good way to determine whether or not grapes are ready for harvest is to sample them! A grape’s sweetness and flavour is the true test for maturity. Ripe grapes should taste sweet, flavourful and mildly acidic. As another option, ready-made kits that help you determine the ripeness of your grapes are available from nurseries.

We hope these pointers help you to cultivate thriving, beautiful grapevines of your own! With the right kind of care and a whole lot of patience, you’ll be able to enjoy grape growing at home for years to come.

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Slumped in their thrones, being fanned by two comely damsels, kings used to eat grapes by plucking them from a dense, glowing bunch. Their life was lavish and peaceful, but several grapes had seeds, which might lead a king to choke, and thus result in the fall of an entire empire.

(Photo Credits : )

So, yes, seedless grapes have truly redefined our understanding of convenience and genetics. However, “seedless grapes” or “seedless fruits” are two words that contradict each other – how can a “sterile” plant exist, since it cannot reproduce any further? How can it exist since procreation is the entire purpose of its biological existence?

The Contradiction

Such a plant is sterile because fruits are nothing more than mature ovaries protecting embryos — the seeds. A seed actually starts out as an ovule, which eventually undergoes pollination — it is fertilized with a sperm to form an embryo or zygote. As this zygote gradually develops into a seed, the ovary ripens and matures and its walls either turn fleshy (berries or drupes) or transform into a hard shell (nuts).

Thus, a flower transforms into a fruit when the ovary becomes a fruit and the ovule growing inside it becomes a seed. The plant then sustains the species as agents like wind, water or animals help disseminate the seeds at a distance from its parent. For instance, animals consume the fruit and defecate the seeds, thereby proliferating them and providing them with a nutritious environment to grow in, simultaneously.

A seedless fruit would, therefore, mean the end of its plant’s generation. It is incapable of bearing any children. Yet, there are plants that often grow seedless fruits, but nature would never permit the birth of such a plant knowingly. These fruits are actually products of unfortunate mutations, their sterility is essentially a genetic defect. However, it is a fortuitous defect because they are more convenient to consume. Now, how can we sustain the continuation of this anomalous species? Quite simply, by opting for an alternative method of reproduction – cloning.

Clones

The process of producing fruits without the fertilization of any seeds, which renders them seedless, is known as parthenocarpy. Seedless grapes are grown from cuttings. The cuttings refer to amputated parts of a vine that is infected with the genetic defect that causes it to grow seedless grapes.

This cutting is then dipped into a rooting hormone and planted in soil. Showered with moisture, the cutting proceeds to grow like any other grapevine, except that its grapes, like its parent’s, are seedless. The new vine is an exact duplicate or clone of the original vine! This compels us to ask which was the first or the original seedless grape to be cloned?

This manner of growing seedless grapes has been utilized since the Roman empire’s reign. Perhaps someone discovered a seedless grape and realized that he could exploit the genetic defect to earn a buck. In fact, the seedless clones grown today are descendants of the same seedless grape that the guy discovered centuries ago.

Lastly, seedless grapes aren’t truly seedless. The grapes technically do grow with seeds; the defect merely arrests their development. It prevents the seeds from growing a hard outer coating that we find on normal seeds. If it wasn’t for that guy, however, we would still be hastily searching for a boul to spit the seeds. The inconvenience!

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DLJ Produce

With over 80 percent of the market, seedless grapes have become the norm in the U.S. food market. They’ve become such a mainstay that many consumers are shocked when they find a seed in a grape. Still, both types of grapes have their advantages. Whether you prefer the joys of eating a grape without spitting out the seeds or the opportunity to use nutritious grape seeds for cooking, these two types of grapes are sure to become part of your weekly shopping list.

How Do Seedless Grapes Exist?

Without seeds, plants can’t reproduce. However, science and horticulturalists have cross-breed grapes for over a century to produce a grape that’s seedless sustainable, yet has no pit. To sustain a seedless grape tree, growers slice branches from the tree and place them in water, effectively growing another tree without harming the grape supply.

Seeded grapes reproduce and grow just like any other type of plant. During processing, growers keep a certain number of grapes and use the seeds to produce another crop of trees. Unlike seedless grapes, seeded grapes don’t require any additional growing techniques to maintain. Wine grapes are the most cultivated seeded grapes in the United States and around the globe, as many vintners, or winemakers, prefer their flavor in the winemaking process.

Benefits of Seedless Grapes

If you’ve been to the supermarket recently, chances are you’ve only noticed seedless grapes. Because they’re easier and more enjoyable to eat, many consumers prefer them over seeded options.

Seedless grapes are also highly nutritious, containing phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. In a side-by-side comparison, red grapes have more nutrients than white grapes, offering higher amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, flavonoids, and phytonutrients.

In one cup of red grapes, you receive:

Add all of these nutrients together and you’ll find that grapes are a healthy way to start your day or treat yourself to a midday snack.

Benefits of Seeded Grapes

Seeded grapes are far less common than their seedless siblings, but they’re still packed with every bit as much nutrition. While many consumers are annoyed by locating, spitting out, and throwing away the seed, these grapes provide an added benefit with one caveat: you have to eat the seed.

Grape seeds are one of the most nutritious parts of the grape, containing melatonin and many of the most powerful antioxidants found on the planet. These antioxidants provide a plethora of benefits such as lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and preventing heart disease.

Eating grape seeds is all about your individual preference and taste. Some people extract them before eating, but to get all the nutrition, simply move them aside with your tongue and swallow them whole. If you bite into them, you’ll get a bitter sensation, which many believe has a complimentary taste to balance the sweetness of the grapes. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also save the grape seeds and turn them into grapeseed oil, which is ideal for all types of cooking.

While seeded grapes may have the slight edge in nutrition, seedless grapes offer a hassle-free way to enjoy consumption. Whichever one you choose, your body will thank you.

DLJ Produce is a nationwide grape supplier and home to Razzle Red seedless grapes and Dazzle green seedless grapes fresh from California. Rely on us for fresh produce all year long.

Types of Grapes

There are two basic types of grapes, American and European. Today, both are grown in the United States, but the European grapes are more popular and versatile. Seeded varieties are thought to have better flavor than seedless, but Americans—who tend to eat grapes as a snack rather than as a dessert—seem to prefer the convenience of seedless grapes. The list that follows covers the major (and a few minor) varieties of grapes, both seeded and seedless, grown in this country.

European varieties of grapes

Our familiar table grapes are derived from a single European species, Vitis vinifera. Varieties of vinifera grapes were grown by the ancients, and now are made into the world’s great wines and dried to produce raisins. They have relatively thin skins that adhere closely to their flesh. When seeds are present, they can be slipped out of the pulp quite easily, although some varieties are seedless.

Spanish missionaries likely brought European varieties of grapes with them when they moved north from Mexico and established vineyards in California in the late 18th century.

Today, California produces the majority of European varieties of grapes in the United States. Although a large proportion of the California crop is used for winemaking and raisins, the remainder provides a bountiful supply of fresh fruit for American tables during most of the year. The major varieties are harvested in different seasons, and the period of market availability for some types is extended by imported grapes.

  • Black Beauty (Beauty Seedless): These are the only seedless black grapes. They are spicy and sweet, resembling Concords in flavor.
  • Calmeria grapes: These pale green, oval grapes are so elongated that they are sometimes called Lady Finger grapes. They have a mildly sweet flavor, comparatively thick skin, and a few small seeds.
  • Cardinal grapes: A cross between the Flame Tokay and the Ribier, these large, dark red grapes have a pearly gray finish, a full, fruity flavor, and few seeds.
  • Champagne grapes (Black Corinth): These grapes are tiny, purple seedless fruits with a deliciously winy sweetness. They are called champagne grapes because someone thought the cluster of small grapes resembled champagne bubbles. In their dried form, these grapes are called currants. Note: These are not the dried fruit of the currant plant, but a mispronunciation of the grape’s name, Corinth.
  • Emperor grapes: These small-seeded red grapes may vary in color from red-violet to deep purple. Their flavor is mild and somewhat cherry-like (they have a lower sugar content than many other table grapes). Thick-skinned Emperors are good shippers and stand up well to consumer handling. They also store well, lengthening their period of availability.
  • Exotic grapes: These blue-black grapes are seeded and firm-fleshed, and resemble Ribiers.
  • Flame Seedless grapes: Second only to Thompson Seedless in quantity grown, these round, pink to red, seedless grapes are sweet-tart and crunchy.
  • Italia grapes (Italia Muscat): This variety has taken the place of the older Muscat varieties, which today are mainly used for making wine. Muscats are large, greenish-gold, seeded grapes with a winy sweetness and fragrance. The Italias have a milder flavor than the older varieties.
  • Perlette Seedless grapes: These round, crisp, green grapes have a frosty-white “bloom” on their surface.
  • Queen grapes: These large, firm grapes are rusty-red in color and have a mildly sweet flavor.
  • Red Globe grapes: These very large red grapes have a crisp texture and large seeds. The flavor is quite delicate.
  • Red Malaga grapes: Ranging in color from pinkish-red to purple, these grapes are crisp and mildly sweet. Their rather thick skins make them good shippers.
  • Ribier grapes: These large, blue-black grapes, which grow in generous bunches, have tender skins. They are sweeter than the look-alike Exotic and arrive at market later in the summer.
  • Ruby Seedless grapes: These deep-red, oval grapes are sweet and juicy.
  • Thompson Seedless grapes: These oval, light green grapes are the most popular fresh variety grown in the United States, and also the foremost variety used for processing into raisins.

  • Tokay grapes(Flame Tokay):A sweeter version of the Flame Seedless, these are large, elongated, crunchy, orange-red grapes.

American varieties of grapes

Two species native to the United States are Vitis labrusca and Vitis rotundita. Labrusca grapes are the ones that Viking explorer Leif Ericson found growing so abundantly on the East Coast of North America, which resulted in his naming the newfound territory “Vinland.”

If you’re anything like me, you must have asked the question “Are grape seeds edible?” I ask this question a lot because I always throw away the seeds whenever I’m eating grapes. But after hearing some wonderful news about their nutritional benefits, it made me seriously consider this question.

The good news is, grape seeds are edible. In fact, it is packed with nutrients which can be a great addition to your diet. If you want to learn about the facts related to grape seeds, continue reading below.

What Type of Grape Seeds Are Edible?

Grape Seeds and Grape on the table

Yes, grape seeds are edible. You can find them in all seeded grape varieties like concord, black, and red grapes. These varieties are better than green grapes because they’re sweeter. But among the three types of grapes mentioned, the red grape seeds offer the strongest taste.

The bitter taste of grape seeds is actually a good thing because it indicates a rich content of nutrients, like flavonoids and polyphenols. Since most people consider them unpalatable, you can get past the bad taste by eating the grapes whole. You can also take grape seeds in their oral liquid form, like grape seed extract and oil.

If you intend to eat the whole fruit, make sure that you wash the grapes thoroughly to remove any traces of fertilizers and dirt left on the skin. It is recommended to choose organic grapes whenever possible. Health With Food suggests chewing them rather than swallowing them whole to reap their full nutritional potential.

Why Eating Grape Seeds is Good For You?

Grape on the wood

Although not specifically tasty, eating grape seeds is good for you because it is filled with nutrients. It is believed to contain strong antioxidant properties due to its high content of oligomeric proanthocyanidins complexes (OPCs). Other nutrients found in grape seeds include omega 3, vitamin A, Vitamin E, linoleic acid, and flavonoids.

According to University of Maryland Medical Center, OPCs have been known as a very potent antioxidant. In fact, OPCs are more powerful than vitamin C and vitamin E.

This is why you should consider eating the grape seeds for better nutrition. If you eat them regularly, you can reap several health benefits that you thought would be impossible. You can also take the grape seed extract as a daily supplement.

Here are some of the health benefits that you should know about:

Treats varicose veins and swelling (edema)

If you’re suffering from varicose veins, grape seeds might be the solution that you’ve been looking for all along. Due to OPCs,veins and capillaries are strengthened to improve blood circulation.

They also allow the blood vessels to become more flexible to lessen the case of edema, which is caused by fluid retention.

Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Flavonoids help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the concentration of bad cholesterol in your body. Similarly, OPCs are believed to treat heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Grape seeds are found to strengthen the blood vessels so they don’t easily become damaged. Once your blood vessels rupture, a heart attack is possible to occur.

Fights cancer

Although researchers have yet to confirm the potential ability of grape seeds to lower the risk of cancer, a recent research has confirmed their anti-cancer properties.

Studies have discovered that they may prevent the development of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer cells. They also help protect the liver from the damaging effects of chemotherapy medications.

Treats other conditions

Although evidence is little, grape seeds can offer these following health benefits:

  • Treats depression
  • Improves night vision
  • Fights premature aging
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes by controlling blood sugar
  • Treats Alzheimer disease
  • Protects women from atherosclerosis

How to Enjoy Grape Seeds?

Grape Seeds and Grape on the table

For everyone who have tried eating grape seeds, you might notice that the seeds are slightly bitter. If you don’t like to eat the grape seeds raw, you may take your daily dose of grape seeds in a form of extract and oil. You may also incorporate them into other dishes.

Take them as a grape seed extract supplement

bottles of grape seed extract

The manufacture of grape seed extract was prompted by the growing interest in OPCs as a powerful antioxidant. It is usually the extract from grape seeds that are the side products of wine or juice production. You can buy grape seed extract in most natural food retailers.

Here are some helpful selection and dosage tips that you can follow according to Whole Health MD

  • In choosing the best grape seed extract supplement, look for those that contain 92%-95% of OPCs, like this product.
  • It is imperative that you take supplements at similar times daily because only 30% of their active components stay in the body.
  • If you would like to aim for further health benefits, look for a supplement that offers other antioxidants.
  • Smokers should consider taking 100 mg of this supplement thrice a day.
  • For adults age 19 years old and above, the dosage of taking this supplement is 100 mg daily. If you aim for therapeutic benefits, you can double the dosage to 200 mg daily.
  • For children 1-8 years old, you may need to ask medical advice before using it. Infants, pregnant women, and lactating mothers are not advised to take this supplement.

Grape seed extracts may come in several forms, such as tablets, capsules, and liquid. Since grape seed extracts are not recommended for children, you may serve them with fresh grapes during snacks. Remember to let them eat the seeds together with the flesh for more nutrients.

Use them as grape seed oil for cooking

grape seed oil and grape on the table

Grape seeds can be transformed into oil by pressing them. The oil extracted from them can be used for high heat cooking. According to Dr. Axe grape seed oil has a slightly higher heating point as compared to olive oil. To be more specific, grape seed oil has a heating point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit.

A higher heating point is such a big deal because you can cook your food under high heat without degrading its quality and lose its nutrients. Grape seed oil is also high in omega-6 fatty acids which lower inflammation and bad cholesterol levels.

When buying a bottle of grape seed oil, choose one that is bottled in dark glass, just like this. Choosing otherwise may expose the oil to light making it rancid in return. Never buy those packaged in plastic bottles because they may leak chemicals into the oil.

Storing the grape seed oil in a cool, dark place may extend its freshness for up to six months. Refrigerators and cellars are great options for storage. You can tell that the oil has gone rancid if it has an unpleasant odor and taste.

Add them to smoothies, soups, teas, and bread mix

grape seeds edible smoothie

If you find grape seeds unpalatable, you can diminish their bitter taste by adding them to your favorite soups, smoothies, and teas. You can use them whole or you can grind them to powder. No matter what your preference is, your aim should be to leave the bitter taste of grape seeds undetected.

Combine frozen whole seeded grapes with bananas, blueberries, and almond milk in a blender to create a delicious grape smoothie. You can watch this video for reference.

You can add some ground grape seeds into your soups, teas, and bread mix by grinding them first into powder. Use a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder to ground seeds finely. You can also leave the seeded grapes whole to make a chilled grape soup.

What are the Cautions you should know for Grape Seeds?

a plate of Grape on the table

As with any food, there are potential risks that you can expect from grape seeds. If you have an allergy for grapes, you may develop some rashes, tongue swelling or even trouble with breathing. So before you take some grape seeds into your diet make sure that you have no allergy towards them.

Grape seeds may also optimize the effects of blood-thinning drugs like aspirin, which may heighten your risk of bleeding. They also inhibit the effect of Phenacetin, a fever reliever. To guarantee your safety, ask for the advice of your doctor before taking them as a supplement regularly.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NNCIH) cautions that the grape seed extract may be safe to use for up to eight weeks. Common side effects include dizziness, nausea, and itchy scalp.

Try Eating Grape Seeds Today!

Eating grape seeds offer more health benefits than you can imagine. Although it has a slightly bitter taste you can try to take it in many other ways, such as the following.

Try Eating Grape Seeds Today

  • Take grape seeds extract supplements
  • Use grape seed oil for cooking
  • Add grape seeds in your smoothies, soups, and bread mixes.

If you have anything to share, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. If you like this article, don’t hesitate to share it on your social media.

FAQs

Are Concord grapes genetically engineered?
Does Concord grape juice contain gluten?
What are the health benefits associated with Concord grapes and grape juice?
Does 100% grape juice have added sugar?
Does fruit juice, like grape juice, make children fat?
Can you get the same benefits from Concord grape juice as you can from red wine?
Where can I learn more about the health benefits of Concord grapes?
How can I add more Concord grapes to my diet?
How is Concord grape juice made?
How is Concord grape jelly made?
Where are Concord grapes grown?
Why can’t I find Concord grapes in the grocery store?
Can I grow Concord grapes in my back yard?
Where can I buy vines/seedlings?
How can you distinguish Concord grapes from other purple grapes?
How can I eat a Concord grapes?
Can Concord grapes be frozen?
Can retail purple grape juice be made into wine?

Are Concord grapes genetically engineered

The Concord grape of today has been around since 1849. Through traditional cross-breeding methods, Boston-bred Ephraim Bull experimented with some of the native grape vines in the New England area. The Concord grape was first grown in the Massachusetts village of Concord, hence its well-known name. Currently, no Concord grapes are genetically engineered

Does Concord grape juice contain gluten?

No. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and crossbreeds of these grains. Fruits, such as Concord grapes, do not contain the gluten proteins. Additionally, the processing aids used in the manufacture of Concord grape juice do not contain gluten. If you have a gluten sensitivity, you may want to contact the manufacturer of your 100% grape juice to ensure the manufacturer does not use gluten-containing ingredients.

What are the health benefits associated with Concord grapes and grape juice?

For years scientists have studied the benefits associated with consuming Concord grapes and grape juice. Growing research suggests that Concord grape juice can contribute to heart heath. And, while additional research is necessary, emerging science also suggests that Concord grapes may be linked to other areas of health. For more information visit: Health & Nutrition.

Does 100% grape juice have added sugar?
No, there’s no sugar added to 100% juices. The grams of sugar you see on the label refer to the naturally occurring fruit sugars from grapes.

Does fruit juice, like grape juice, make children fat?
No. The majority of research does not show a relationship between overweight and 100 % juice consumption in children or teens. In fact, several studies that have investigated the relationship between 100% juice consumption and bodyweight in children and adolescents report additional benefits for 100% juice drinkers, including higher intake of certain nutrients (i.e. vitamin C) and lower intake of total fat, saturated fat and added sugar.

Can you get the same benefits from Concord grape juice as you can from red wine?
While the alcohol in red wine has been shown to provide heart-health benefits, Concord grape juice can be an option for those that choose not to drink alcoholic beverages. What we know is that Concord grape juice and red wine are both made from rich, dark, whole grapes that contain naturally occurring phytonutrients called polyphenols. Growing science suggests that Concord grape juice may provide many of the same heart health benefits as red wine, which research indicates to be the result of these polyphenols. . For more information visit: Health & Nutrition.

Where can I learn more about the health benefits of Concord grapes?
To learn more about the latest research on Concord grape/grape products health benefits, visit the Grape Science Center at grapescience.com.

How can I add more Concord grapes to my diet?
100% Grape Juice made specifically with Concord grapes: Processed straight from the North American grown Concord grape, delicious deep-purple 100% grape juice is nutrient dense, contains no added sugar and can be found in bottles, cans, as concentrates, and in vending machines. Delicious all by itself, 100% grape juice can also be a healthy ingredient in recipes. See Recipes. (add link to recipe page).
Concord grape jelly: Clear, firm and sparkling, Concord grape jelly is made from the juice of the grape and added sugar and is firm enough to hold its shape when turned out of its container.
Concord grape jam: Pureed grapes are cooked with sugar until thick, or “jammed” together. A grape jam patent was first issued to Paul Welch in 1917 for the pureeing of grapes. He called the product “Grapelade.” The initial quantity was purchased entirely by the U.S. Army and shipped to France for consumption by the troops during World War I. The product was then demanded by the troops when they returned to civilian life.
Concord grape preserves: Grapes with their seeds removed are cooked with sugar or in heavy syrup until tender. The fruit remains whole, and the syrup becomes thick and transparent.

The Food and Drug Administration established standards of identity for jams, jellies, preserves and fruit butters in 1940. These standards are codified in 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 150.

How is Concord grape juice made?
Concord grapes are harvested in North America only one time per year (Aug – early Nov). The grapes are brought into the processing facility, crushed and pressed into juice. The juice can either be pasteurized and stored as single strength juice, or it may be concentrated (water removed) and stored. Since Concord grapes are harvested during a short time period and are processed immediately, juice is stored under refrigeration so that it is available year round. At the time of bottling, grape juice is filtered and pasteurized before it goes into the bottle.

How is Concord grape jelly made?
As with Grape Juice, Grape Jelly starts with the Concord Grape. Juice that is captured after harvesting and pressing Concord Grapes is used to make Concord Grape Jelly. This juice is pumped into a cook room that contains large heating kettles. Sweeteners, like sugar or high fructose corn syrup, are then added to the juice. The sweeteners are critical to get the right flavor and jelly consistency. Once this is heated up to a certain temperature, fruit pectin may then be added to help ensure that the jelly is the right consistency. Citric acid can also be added to help balance the flavor to get the best tasting Concord Jelly. Once the batch has been approved for meeting all quality standards, the jelly is packed into bottles and cooled. Making Concord Grape Jams and other fruit spreads follow a similar process to Concord Grape Jelly.

Where are Concord grapes grown?
Concord grapes are primarily grown in Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Washington grows the largest number of Concord grapes, followed by New York. See links below for additional information:

Why can’t I find Concord grapes in the grocery store?
Concord grapes are grown mainly to make 100% grape juice, but are special grapes that can be found during the fall and mainly in the regions where the grapes are grown. Look for Concord grapes in your local produce section in the fall when Concords are harvested. The produce manager probably can get Concord grapes in the fall, if requested.

Can I grow Concord grapes in my back yard?
Yes. Concord grapes can make an attractive arbor that then produces a delicious crop. Concord vines do require annual pruning and will take 4 years before producing a big crop. Visit sites like: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/ec/ec1305/ for simply eating, or as a decorative arbor.

Where can I buy vines/seedlings?
In the West, a good source of Concord cuttings are:

In the East, a good source of concord cuttings is:

  • Double A vineyards, 10277 Christy Road, Fredonia, NY 14063. Phone: 716-672-8493. http://www.rakgrape.com.

How can you distinguish Concord grapes from other purple grapes?
Concord grapes are purple and are just one variety of purple grapes. Purple grapes include all grapes of that color, one of which is the Concord grape.

Concord grapes are hardy grapes native to North America. They are typically larger in size and have larger seeds than European varieties. Concord grapes also have a slip skin (skin that separates from the pulp), which is thicker than the fixed skin on European grapes. The skin of grapes of the European varieties is attached to the meat. This allows the latter varieties to be stored in cold rooms, shipped to fresh market and eaten as table grapes, etc.

The plant nutrients, or polyphenols, found in the skins and seeds of this dark purple, hardy grape give Concord grape juice its natural antioxidant power and health benefits.

How can I eat a Concord grapes?
Concord grapes are a slip skin grape, meaning if you squeeze the grape, the pulp will slip out of the skin. You can eat Concord grapes with or without the skin, or with or without the seeds. All parts of the Concord grape are good for you.

Can Concord grapes be frozen?
Anything can be frozen, but why freeze Concords? Thompson seedless, for example, is a great grape to freeze and take in the car for a cool treat. Frozen Concords would be messy, with seeds, and you don’t really “chew” Concords – you suck them out of their skin to get the juice and flavor and swallow the grape whole (after you separate the seeds). You eat them somewhat like oysters.

Can retail purple grape juice be made into wine?
Yes. Retail white grape juice contains sulfites, which inhibits the fermentation process. If there is any sulfite in retail purple grape juice, it is minimal, and not enough to inhibit fermentation. Although any yeast will ferment grape juice, many yeast strains will make bad wine. Find a winemaking yeast strain to make a good Concord wine. Add sugar to the initial juice to reach 21 Brix (% sugar) before fermentation to achieve a normal alcohol level in the final wine.

In 2003, the CSU Specialty Crops Program had a small demonstration plot of table grapes at the W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center including the following varieties: Fredonia, Concord, Himrod, and Reliance. In 2004, a variety trial was established on certified organic land at the Horticulture Research Center northeast of Fort Collins, Colorado. Ten plants each of the varieties listed in the table below were planted 8′ apart on June 16, 2004. We rented a tractor-mounted post hole digger to excavate the holes more efficiently. Half of the plants were treated with an endomycorrhizal root dip and half were left untreated. All vines planted were one year old vines (bare root stock), except for the variety Vanessa whose vines were 2-years old. We spread composted dairy manure on top of the soil in mid-summer 2004. The varieties Swenson White, St. Theresa, and Flambeau were potted plants and were obtained and planted on August 4, 2004. In 2005, 10 potted plants of the the variety Valiant were added to the variety trial and planted on May 16, 2005.

Varieties were chosen for productivity and cold hardiness, many having been bred in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Wind dessication can be a problem here, almost as much so as the cold temperatures, so it can be difficult for plants to survive the harsh conditions. We had 24% mortality of the grapes after planting and before the winter of 2004-05. In the spring of 2005, there was an additional 28% winter mortality rate. Interestingly, the treatment with the endomycorrhizal root dip did not appear to play a role in decreasing transplant shock or in aiding winter survival. By the spring of 2005, the grape plants with the endomycorrhizal root dip had 34% mortality and those without the treatment only had 22% mortality. Insufficient watering may have played a role in some of the mortality. During the summer of 2006, we watered more frequently, applying approximately 1″ of water per week.

The plants will be trellised in the spring of 2006 and we hope to have our first year of grape production in the summer. See below for photos (all photos are courtesy of Cornell University) and descriptions of the planted grape varieties.

Photos (courtesy of Cornell Univ.) Variety Description
Einset Seedless
Red seedless grape, strawberry-like flavor, medium sized clusters with good storage potential.
Photo Not Available
Flambeau
An Elmer Swenson variety, pink seedless grape.
Mars
From the University of Arkansas, a blue seedless grape, has proven to be hardy in New York.
Reliance
From the University of Arkansas (1982), red medium-sized seedless berries, among the best varieties for cold hardiness.
Photo Not Available
St. Theresa Seedless
An Elmer Swenson variety.
Sheridan
Black Concord-type berries, seeded, vigorous, hardy, easy to grow, late producer.
Swenson Red
University of Minnesota and Elmer Swenson variety, large, seeded, red berries, hardiness in Minnesota was marginal but did well in New York.
Photo Not Available
Swenson White
An Elmer Swenson variety, hardy white grape, ripens late in the season.
Valiant
a deep blue-purple fruit, good for eating, jelly, and juice, very hardy grape, self-pollinating (photo courtesy of cornhillnursery.com)
Vanessa
Red dessert grape, seedless, hardy variety, medium-sized firm berry, recommended as the best among red seedless types .

Other Sources of Information About Grapes

Photos are courtesy of Cornell University – see the link to their report on Table Grape Varieties for Cool Climates. See also the websites at the University of Arkansas and the University of Minnesota about their grape breeding programs.

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