As Californians, most of us grew up with Thompson Seedless grapes. It accounts for one third of California’s total grape production and is the choice grape for raisins too. But, have you tried Natural Thompson Seedless grapes? Wow!
This small, yellowish grape is surprisingly crisp and sweet with a distinct bite. This is not your standard table grape, nor your standard Thompson; the amazing taste difference comes from the growing and harvesting.
You see, most conventional large table grapes go through a process to enlarge the size of the berry which includes:
• “dropping the fruit” thinning out the grapes to allow more energy to go into the clusters left on the vines,
• “opening up the vines”, pruning in a way that allows the sun to penetrate more energy on the clusters,
• “girdling” a process that cuts a circle around the lower part of vine stump allowing the water and nutrients up the vine but not back down.
With Natural Thompson grapes, Mother Nature is left alone. They are full of nutrients and have a distinct yellow tinge, which is a sign of ripeness. Plus, they are picked ripe in the fields; ready to eat, as they will not ripen further once picked. And oh, how tasty!
Now Is the Peak of the Season for California Grapes
In addition to the Natural Thompson Seedless, there are super-sweet, floral-smelling Muscats and powerfully rich, almost black Concords. Try them and you’ll truly have an amazing flavor experience. These next few weeks are the peak, so get them while you can.
We’ve included our favorite ways to combine grapes with other tastes. Try it. Let us know what you think!
Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tip
Color is your best sign of ripeness, for green grapes that means looking for yellow or straw colored grapes. Red grapes should be dark red throughout the entire bunch; likewise the blue or purple grapes should be as dark as possible.
Once home, wash and wrap grapes in a paper towel and store in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Remove them from the fridge fifteen minutes before serving for optimal flavor.