Grapes are one of the most recognized foods in the world, but this juicy berry isn't the same in every place. There are dozens of types of grapes, and about 50 types of table grapes grown in California alone, the largest grape grower in the U.S. They propagate on vines all around the world, from the northern lakes of New York State to the sunny fields in Spain to the Andes foothills near Peru. The different types of grapes can be eaten raw or they can be made into jams, juice, jelly, and wine, though not every type of grape is used for the same thing. Some grapes are deep red, others pinkish yellow, some a shade of green and others look almost black. Learn more about the nuances of table, or eating, grapes, where they grow, and other fun facts that make this berry such a staple in billions of households.
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The flavor of classic purple grape juice is exactly what a Concord grape tastes like: bright fruit, berry forward, with sticky, sugar backbone. These grapes have a large seed, which make them hard to eat as a table grape, though Concords are tasty. Often Concord grapes are used to make pie, jam, juice and to flavored candy. Concord grapes are also often used to make Kosher wine.
The main growing area of this grape is in North America, particularly the Finger Lake region in New York, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Michigan. Concord grapes also grow in parts of Washington state, though they aren't as prevalent there. These grapes aren't common in grocery stores, but some farmers' markets in the aforementioned areas may sell them when Concords are in season, from September through late October. Though the Concord has been grown for over 100 years, it's a hybrid that was developed in 1843 in Concord, Massachusetts.
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Find this popular oval grape May through October in many grocery stores across the country. The Crimson Seedless was bred by David Ramming and Ron Tarailo of the USDA Fruit Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in California, and came onto the market in 1989. The firm, red-green grape has thicker skin that helps give it a longer shelf life than other varieties, though this also means it's a little more tannic than other grapes. Still, the Crimson Seedless is what most people think of when shopping for red grapes, and the tart juiciness has made this grape a favorite in many homes.
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Sultana grapes are one of the oldest known grape varietals still available today. Also called the Thompson Seedless, this small, green-white grape is oval shaped and very sweet. The sweetness of Sultana grapes have made this berry the preferred choice for dehydrating into white raisins. This is the type most often sold in grocery stores. Today Sultanas are grown mainly in California, Australia and Turkey, and are harvested July to September.
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The long, dark purple-blue grapes that look a little like a finger are called Moon Drop, or Witch's Finger. Developed for the grape-growing company The Grapery (which also trademarked the name), this unique grape took around 15 years to perfect. Dr. Cain created the Moon Drop grape through plant breeding, using mainly Middle Eastern grapes to finesse the berry. Aside from the unique shape, the Moon Drop® grape is known for a snappy texture, grape jelly sweetness, and for lasting longer in the refrigerator than most other types of grapes. Find this grape in season and in many supermarkets between late July and late September.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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The Kyoho grape comes from Japan, and the name means "giant mountain grape," which was inspired by Mount Fuji. The dark, almost black fruits are the largest grape grown, and they aren't easily found on the market. The Kyoho grape is a cross between the Ishiharawase and Centennial grapes, and was developed in Japan in the 1930s. The skin is thick and not palatable, but once peeled the flesh proves sweet and juicy, much like a Concord grape. It grows from July to August, but isn't sold much outside of Japan.
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Himrod grapes grow in picturesque golden-yellow clusters and taste as sweet as they look. This grape has been gracing tables for centuries, first in Europe and Turkey where it originated. The Himrod grape was cultivated over the years to be a little bigger and sweeter, which is what eaters will find when sourcing this grape today. Himrod grapes can be grown in many hot regions, though this variety isn't often found in markets outside its growing regions.
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This blue-purple hybrid grape combines the rich plummy notes of the Concord with the sugary sweetness of the Thompson Seedless or Sultana varieties. It's a seedless grape that's firm, round, and plump, with a strong jam characteristic. The Thomcord was developed in California in 1980s as a way for grape breeders to understand how to create seedless grapes. The experiment was successful enough that this grape is still on the market and can be found in many grocery chains from July to September.
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Many bright green grapes seen in the grocery store are Niagara grapes, which were bred in Niagara County, New York in 1868 and came onto the market in 1882. It's a hybrid of Concord and white Cassady grapes. Sometimes Niagara grapes are called White Concord because they have the same round shape and thick skin, though the grape leans more toward green than white in color. The flavor of the Niagara grape is jammy, with floral notes and a lemon rind twist. It's sometimes used for wine, but mainly this variety is turned in to jelly or juice.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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The Valiant grape was bred especially for Northern grape growers. Though there is a seed, these small, blue-purple berries can be eaten whole. The sweet-tangy flavor mimics that of the Concord grape and makes them popular in juice, jelly and some sweeter wines. The Valiant grape also goes well in baked goods. The season for harvesting this cold-hardy grape is mid August through late September, and Valiant grapes are mainly found in cooler, northern regions of the United States.
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The Red Globe grape is grown mainly in Chile, Australia and California. The Red Globe is prized for its round shape and large size, and is eaten often as a table grape. This fruit can be frozen, made into raisins, and pressed into a grape juice.
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Also developed by the Grapery, a California-based grape lab and farm, this light green-white grape does in fact taste a lot like cotton candy. It's grown only in California, and hits the grocery store shelves from mid August to late September. The Cotton Candy is a juicy, sweet, candy-like and limited-time grape. Though these grapes were developed by scientists, they are non-GMO; Cotton Candy grapes are cross-bred naturally on the vines.
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Another popular grape from the Grapery, the Sweet Jubilee came onto the market in 2012. This large, black grape has an oval shape and a large seed in the center. Because it's so big, it's easy to remove the seed and slice the grape almost like a piece of stone fruit and eat raw. It only grows in California and is available for a small window between August to September.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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The Flame Seedless is another grape that stores well, which means it's easy to find in many major grocery stores. The purple-red berries are medium and size, sweet and crunchy, with a semi-thick skin. All these attributes make the Flame Seedless a good table grape. Like many grapes, the Flame Seedless is a hybrid, mixed with a few different grape varieties but manly the Thompson Seedless and the Cardinal. It came onto them market in the mid 1970s and has remained a popular grape ever since.
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A licensed variety from Cornell University, the seedless Canadice grape is a sweet purple variety with a bit of spice. This medium-sized grape was developed using Himrod and Bath grapes, and got its name from Canadice Lake, located in New York's Finger Lakes, where a lot of the grape breeding took place. Though the Canadice grape stores well, it's a more delicate while growing on the vine and often is consumed by rot, which is one reason this grape is harder to source than other varieties.
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The indigo-black hue of the Autumn Royal was bred into the grape by combining a cocktail of grape varieties including Autumn Black, Ribier, Black Rose, Flame Seedless and Calmeria. When the seedless Autumn Royal was released on the market in 1996, it was, and remains, one of the larger grapes available. It's grown in California, where it was cultivated, and ripens a little later than most table grapes. It has a mild sweetness, crunchy exterior, and pale green flesh inside.
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