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Chilean Grapes (Crimson Seedless)

Grapes symbolize the good life. Commercially grown in Chile this late fall to early spring crop is now available throughout the winter at good prices. Despite some negative press, Chilean grapes in my experience, are high in quality and offer a welcome way to add fresh fruit to the table during the winter months.

Varieties Imported are PERLETTE, THOMPSON SEEDLESS, FLAME SEEDLESS, BLACK SEEDLESS, RED GLOBE, SUGRAONE, PINK MOSCATEL, RIBIER, RUBY SEEDLESS, CRIMSON SEEDLESS, RED SEEDLESS, and EMPEROR.

There were 25 million cases of Chilean grapes imported to the U.S. during the 2008 - 2009 season.

  • Table grapes are Chile's principle fresh fruit export, approximately 37% of Chile's total fresh fruit exports.
  • Chile represents 24% of the global supply of fresh table grapes [they are second to Italy]

The Chilean grape season is November through May.

With over 400 years of experience growing high-quality fruit, Chile knows how to give each grape vineyard just the right amount of sun and water to produce the best tasting fruit.

After the grapes are picked they are sent by refrigerated trucks to the dock, where they are loaded on ships to make the trip to North America, which takes about 10 to 12 days.

The ship is unloaded and the grapes are transported to a supermarket near you, where you can purchase and enjoy this great sweet fruit.

Selecting

Look for plump, smooth grapes with good color. They should be firmly attached to a fresh-looking green stem, with no evidence of wrinkling or withering. There should be a dusty bloom on the skin of the grape itself. Like the dusty bloom on blueberries, it's a naturally occurring substance that helps protect the grapes and is a good indication of freshness. Green or White grapes will have a golden glow when they're ripe, red grapes will be a soft, rich red, and black grapes will have a deep, blue-black color.

Storing

Grapes don't ripen off the vine, so what you buy is what you get. They're very delicate and need to be handled carefully. Refrigerate them dry in a plastic bag. Never wash them until you're ready to eat; moisture will make them deteriorate very quickly. Grapes will last up to a week properly stored in the refrigerator, but it's best to eat them as soon as possible.

Preparing

  • Grapes are ideal as luncheon dessert, snack, wine and cheese complement or garnish.
  • In summer toss grapes into salads. Use grapes mixed into yogurt and cereals as part of a breakfast bar.
  • Garnish a breakfast plate of waffles or pancakes with grapes dipped in cinnamon sugar.
  • Freeze grapes and serve as a dessert.
  • To frost grapes, beat an egg white until frothy, dip grapes in beaten egg white, and then roll in granulated sugar. Place on a wire rack to dry- about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • To peel grapes, start at the stem end and separate the skin from the pulp using a knife. For easy skin removal, dip grapes in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in cold ice water.

Recipes

Other recipes from Produce Pete.

   

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