22 Aug 2006

Fruit of the Vine

Grapes have grown wild since prehistoric times and records have found that they became cultivated over 5000 years ago. They were first planted in the U.S. in the 17th Century by the Spanish.

There is nothing so wonderful as eating fresh organic grapes. They are healthy and nutritious in all their forms including raisins, sultanas, wine, vinegar, grape seed extract and grape seed oil. They are a very good source of Vitamin C and K, and are rich in polyphenols.

Grapes are a powerful antioxidant. They act as a diuretic and therefore reduce water retention. They are also beneficial for cleansing and detoxing the system. The polyphynols resveratroll and quercitinin in grapes has been shown to help protect against arterial wall damage by cholesterol and the polyphynol tannin, is believed to act against viruses.

Grapes also contain high levels of caffeic acid which is a strong cancer fighting substance. Dr. Johanna Brandt wrote a book about how she healed herself of cancer, eating nothing but grapes in her book "How to Conquer Cancer, Naturally".

When purchasing grapes and not eating them all at once it is best to store them unwashed in the fridge in the original perforated plastic bag. They keep from up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Before eating wash well.

Grapes, raisins and sultanas are wonderful added to salad and in cooking. When juicing grapes use the whole grape as the skin and seeds are rich polyphenols, plant flavonoids and anti-oxidents and it also improves the flavor of the juice.

Grape seed oil is useful in the kitchen as it can be used in salad dressings, marinades and baking. It is also used as an aromatherapy base oil for massage and is used commercially in skin care products.

A glass of organic wine with your evening meal is said to be excellent for people with high blood pressure. Red wines have been found to contain melatonin so will also help with a good night's sleep after having a glass with your evening meal.

All in all the grape is an exceptional fruit and excellent to add to your daily vegan diet.

Recipes of the Day

Armenian Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves
Serves 30

2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup short grain rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup currants
1 tsp. allspice
2 Tbsps. finely chopped dill
salt and fresh ground pepper
80 fresh or preserved grape vine leaves
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
lemons wedges and soy yoghurt for garnish

Sauté onions in oil until transparent, add rice and stir for 5 minutes. Add pine nuts, currants, allspice, dill, salt, pepper. Cover and cook low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Line bottom of a large heavy pan with 4 leaves and pack rolls rightly, seam side down, in rows. As each layer is finished, place three or 4 thin slices of lemon on it. When all rolls are in the pan, top with a few more lemon slices and cover with remaining leaves. Pour over 2 cups water and olive oil, add a heavy plate turned upside down over the rolls to keep them in place while cooking. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to lower and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and leave until cool. Place rolls on platter, discard lemon. Serve at room temperature (or chill). Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with soy yoghurt. Makes 70.

Golden Grape Gelatin
from The Vegan Chef
Seves 4-6

1/3 cup water
2 Tbsps. agar-agar flakes
1 2/3 cups white grape juice
1 cup seedless grapes, washed well and cut in half

In a small saucepan, stir together the water and agar-agar flakes, and place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook while stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes or until the agar-agar is thoroughly dissolved. Place the grape juice in a glass bowl, add the agar-agar mixture, and whisk well to combine. Place in the refrigerator, chill for 30 minutes or until partially set; gently fold in the grapes, and chill for several additional hours or until totally gelled. Serve in small individual glass dishes, or transfer to small individual airtight containers for transport.
*Variation - try substituting other types of fruit juice or sliced fruit, such as berries, cherries, apples, or pears. Citrus fruits and pineapple sometimes react differently with the agar-agar so trying mixing them with other types of fruit for proper gelling.

Tarragon Vinaigrette
from Vegetarian Times
Serves 6

1 Tbsps. minced shallot
2 Tbsps. whole-grain Dijon-style mustard
1 bunch fresh tarragon, chopped
Pinch chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbsps. Champagne vinegar
3 Tbsps. late-harvest Riesling vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
Juice 1 lemon
1 cup grapeseed oil

Combine shallot, mustard, tarragon and thyme in bowl. Add vinegars, salt and pepper to taste and stir together well. Add lemon juice, oil and serve.



KleoPatra said...

Hey it is so cool that you posted about grapes. On the vacation from which i just returned, my friend Peter and i went through Napa, which is home to some of the state of California's most lovely grapes (it's Wine Country USA pretty much) and we snuck out and had some right off the vine when there!

Thanks for the fab info on this fruit. As i've gotten older, i have not stayed as huge of a grape fan as i once was... mostly because of its low nutritional value (insofar as vitamins and what not). But there are other reasons, as you mention here, for inviting this plump beauty into our lives!

Urban Vegan said...

shows you how little I knew about grapes. thanks!

michele said...

Wow thanks for the info about grapes.I bought some grapes
from the 99 cent store and
they were soooooo good.
I think they deal with the
small farms.

A week later i bought grapes
at stater brothers,it's a
big food chain in california
and the grapes were horrible.

Dirty Butter said...

We keep a bunch of grapes in the fridge almost all the time, just taking a few off and popping them in the mouth as the mood strikes. It's pitiful to see how God planned for all our needs and how we've ignored it all. Thanks for the wonderful education.

And thanks for being the first visitor to comment at my new blog, too!!


Rebekah said...

the Cashew Nut Pesto looks lovely - thanks!

Rebekah of Modified News,

RubyShooZ said...

I'd be interested in trying this recipe next year during the grape harvest time (usually Sept. - Oct. around here - here being near Naples, NY Wine Country!)

Although I'm not sure about using that amount of agar agar... it seems like a bit much. Have you ever tried using it? My husband and I made something with it once, I forgot what it was but it turned out to be the consistancy of, say, a superball maybe. :)

I believe we must've been using powder where the recipe must have called for flakes maybe.

I do love the vegan chef and her infamous French Onion soup which we have on a fairly regular basis.

Thank you for posting this and for posting the info about grapes in general and thanks too for the whole blog which I haven't had a huge amount of time to look around at but hope to at some point.

I read your profile (at blog catalog) and it sounds like we have much in common - being vegan, decoupage and beading.

I hope you have a beautiful day today - and every day.

Peace always.