Ohio grapes are grown for winemaking, juice (including juice made into jelly), and for eating. There are many grapes suitable for winemaking, including some varieties raised exclusively for that purpose. The Ohio grape variety most popular for purple grape juice is Concord, with Niagara grapes suitable for white grape juice. Table grapes include not only Niagara and Concord, but also the two popular seedless varieties, Himrod (green) and Reliance (red). Whether for wine or some other use, all grapes are suitable for fresh consumption.
For information on grape varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.
Ohio grapes are available from mid-August to October. Unlike some fruits, grapes will not improve or ripen after they have been harvested—they must be at peak quality and sweetness when purchased.
The flavor of green grapes is best when they are yellow-green in color; red varieties are best when the grapes are predominately red; and blue-black varieties reach peak flavor when the berries have a full rich color.
Grapes should be firm, plump, well-colored, and firmly attached to green pliable stems. Dry, brittle stems usually cause grapes to drop from the stems and are a sign of poor quality. Moldy and wet grapes indicate decay. Avoid grapes that are shriveled or soft at the stem attachment.
Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.
- 4 cups = 1½ pounds
- 1 bushel = 48 pounds
The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends 2 cups of fruits per day as part of a healthy diet. Grapes provide many nutritional benefits to help meet dietary needs:
- Grapes are relatively low in calories, containing about 104 calories per each grape.
- 1 cup of grapes contains about 104 calories.
- Grape juice contains about 150 calories and 36 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving.
- Control your serving size of grape juice and always look for 100% juice. Choose fresh grapes, instead of juice, as they contain more fiber and phytonutrients that may reduce inflammation, heart disease, and certain cancers.
- Grapes provide small amounts of potassium and vitamin C.
- Grapes can be stored in the refrigerator, in a perforated plastic bag, or in a location with low temperatures (down to 31 F) and high humidity.
- Grapes will keep well in storage for about two weeks but are best when eaten within two to three days.
- Wash just before use by holding under cool running water, then drain and dry well. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the fruit.
- Include grapes in tuna, shrimp, or chicken salad as well as leafy, green salads.
- Cut and freeze grapes as a quick, cool snack.
- Pierce grapes and other cut fresh fruit with a blunted wooden toothpick or skewer to create fruit kabobs.
- Use grapes as a garnish on an appetizer or dessert plate.
- Serve grapes with cottage cheese and other fresh fruits for a light lunch.
- Cut red grapes in half, drizzle with oil, ad a pinch of salt, and quick roast in the oven at 400 F until cooked, and then toss in a salad or on toast with cream cheese.
Grape, Apple, and Chicken Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Time: Approximately 15 minutes
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 cup grapes, cut in half
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 chicken breasts (skinless, cooked, diced, or canned about 2 cups)
- ¼ cup plain non-fat yogurt
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise, light or regular
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- In a medium sized bowl mix all ingredients.
- To serve put on whole grain bread or crackers or arrange on bed of lettuce.
For more information on preserving grapes, go to ohioline.osu.edu or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:
- Canning Basics, HYG-5338
- Basics for Canning Fruit, HYG-5343
- Freezing Fruits, HYG-5349
- Jams, Jellies, and Other Fruit Spreads, HYG-5350
- Drying Fruits and Vegetables, HYG-5347
FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 15, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.
National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed June 28, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. n.d. “MyPlate, U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Recipes. Accessed July 19, 2021.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes.
Revised 2021: Joyce Riley, MS, RD, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Revised 2010: Julie Kennel Shertzer, Program Specialist, Human Nutrition
Original author: Barbara H. Drake, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension