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Sonoma County Gazette

Grapes: A Different Kind of Berry

Sep 1, 2018


By Kelly Smith 

At the farmers’ market you will find all sorts of grapes in season from Concord grapes to seedless grapes to green grapes. They are great for making jams and jellies, juice, grape seed oil, raisins, currants and sultanas, not to mention wine. Although my favorite way to eat them is by popping them off the vine and into my mouth. 

A grape is a botanically a berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus Vitis. Grapes started being cultivated in the Middle East 8000 years ago. Today, 72 million tons of grapes are grown each year worldwide, mostly to produce wine. Of that amount 109.1 million boxes were grown in California in 2017. The grape growers have been reaching a milestone of table grape production over the past 6 years growing approximately the same amount each year. That number converts to 1.81 billion dollars, according to the California Table Grape Commission. California ships table grapes to over 59 countries each year. 

Grapes offer many health benefits including help to protect against cancer, eye problems, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. Resveratrol is a key nutrient in grapes that may offer aid to health benefits. Grapes are suitable for people with diabetes, as long as they are accounted for in the diet plan. This delicious fruit also contains fiber and potassium which can help support a healthy heart and lowering blood pressure. Fiber along with water in grapes can keep bowel movements regular and reduce risk of constipation. The high water content is also great of hydration. A little known fact is that grapes can help with allergies. Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin, some suggest that consuming grapes may help alleviate symptoms of including runny nose, watery eyes and hives according to Medical News Today’s website.

Roasted Grapes with Thyme, Fresh Ricotta, & Grilled Bread



  Olive Oil 

  Kosher Salt 

  Fresh Thyme Sprigs

  Good Rustic Bread, sliced into 1/2 inch think pieces 

  Fresh Ricotta



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread grapes onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with Olive Oil. sprinkle with salt. Lay thyme leaves over top. Toss all together gently with your hands. Place pan in the over for 7 to 9 minutes or until grapes just begin to burst. The shorter roasting time will help keep some grapes in tact.  

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium- high. Brush the bread with olive oil and grill until toasty. 

Assemble the open faced sandwiches: Spread fresh ricotta over bread. Top with roasted grapes. Discard thyme sprigs. 


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