Grapes are in season right now. Get them fresh off the vine and try some of our favorite ways to prepare them.
When, Where, & What?
Grapes (Vitis spp, Vitaceae) are edible berries grown in clusters on small shrubs or vines. They grow best in temperate zones such as Italy, France, Spain, Mexico and Chile. New world settlers found that grapes brought over from Europe didn’t survive the winter cold and were prone to fungal diseases. They developed the hybrid varieties found in America today. Today California is the largest producer of “table grapes” – the kind for snacking.
There are thousands of varieties of grapes. Some are grown for wine production while others are grown to be eaten as-is. Concord grapes are used to produce grape juice, jams and jellies. They’re blue in color, with a thick, chewy skin and contain seeds. They’re sold as table grapes along with other varieties like Interlaken, Lakemont, Einset Seedless and Venus. Muscat grapes are turned into raisins while Riesling grapes are used to produce wine. Dana found fun varieties when she scouted her local farmers market including Mars and Juniper grapes.
Grapes are typically round or oval, smooth skinned and juicy. Some varieties contain seeds while others are seedless. Some are “slip skin” where the skin can easily be removed while other varieties have skin that is tough to remove. Grapes are divided into categories by color: white or black (or red). White grapes range in color from pale yellow-green to light green, while black varieties range in color from light red to deep purple. In the U.S., peak season for grapes is August through October.
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- Plums in many colors.
Finally…plum season has arrived! This juicy stone fruit is only in season a short period of time. Be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.
What, Where, When
The plum (Prunus domestica, Rosaceae) belongs to the rose family with cherries, peaches, and apricots. There are hundreds of plum varieties grown throughout the world. Common varieties include French, Italian, Imperial, Greengage, Long John, Castelton, and Fellenburg.
Plums grow on trees in clusters, have smooth skin and a pit in the center. Plums can be oval or round in shape. The skin can be deep purple, red, green, blue, or multicolored. The flesh can be orange, red, purple, yellow, or white. Plums also vary in taste—some are sweet while others are tart. They’re available from July through October.
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- Smoothies are better than milkshakes, right? Well, not always -- read on to learn about this and 4 more food naming tricks.
Food labels are carefully worded to entice shoppers to choose certain items. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found dieters often fall for simple labeling tricks that make them believe certain foods are healthier than they are. Find out the top 5 traps people fell into and how to avoid them.
How to beat top food label tricks »
- Strawberry and Fava Bean Salad - Image Courtesy the California Strawberry Commission
Strawberries are delicious, juicy and in season now! These nutrient-packed red gems are one of our favorites — here’s why.
See why we love strawberries »
- The right between-meal snacks can help keep hunger at bay.
Snacks are an important part of a well-balanced diet and should contain healthy nutrients like calcium, protein, whole grains, vitamins or minerals. Aim for one to two snacks per day that are around 150 calories each. Skip those expensive, nutrient-light snack packs and try these 10 filling 150 calorie snacks instead.
See all 10 snack ideas »
- English Muffin Breakfast Pizza - Photo Courtesy Food Network Magazine
Is skipping breakfast part of your daily routine? Starting your day running on empty just makes your life tougher and is more stressful for your body. You may feel tired, without knowing why. As we begin Breakfast Week here on Healthy Eats, here are a few ways to help get you in the habit of eating a morning meal every day.
Take small steps towards a better breakfast »
In this week’s nutrition news: Too many vitamins can harm kids, the unsanitary conditions found on egg farms and have you looked inside your pantry lately?
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- Find out which snacks to skip.
Feeding your kids can get confusing. Between pushy food marketing and bewildering labels, it’s no wonder that most folks are misled as to which kids snacks are really healthy. Here’s the real deal on what you’ve been buying.
6 snacks to avoid, and healthy alternatives »
- Tomato-Peach Salad - Photo Courtesy Food Network Magazine
Peach season has finally arrived! My 5-year old daughter has been waiting for me to bring home fresh ones ever since summer began. Read up on the different types and try some of our peachy recipes…if you don’t eat all the delicious fruit first.
Get our favorite peach recipes »
As a mother of three, nothing warms my heart more than a bunch of pitter-pattering feet scrambling to bring me breakfast in bed. Finally my kids are old enough to pour, stir and measure ingredients–hopefully my hubby is reading this and gets the hint! Here are some kid-friendly ideas for kids of all ages (with a little help from Dad) and ideas on which tasks are age-appropriate.
Get simple Mother’s Day ideas »