This is the season of grapes. Both the green and purple varieties are available all over India. Grapes can be had in fruit salads, fresh fruit juice, or as raisins ( kishmish) which can be put into kheer or payasam.The origin of grapes is a matter of debate. Some believe it was first found in the USSR. From here, it is said to have spread to West Asia, North Africa, India, Australia and other countries. Others believe that Central Asia was the place where grape plantations originated. Each country developed its own methods of planting in the vineyard, as a result of which taste varies from country to country. There are over 400 varieties of grapes in the world.In India, several types of grapes are grown, including the European and Australian variety. Grapes are grown in Kashmir and northern Uttar Pradesh on a large scale. Pune, Coorg, Aurangabad and Hyderabad are well known for their vineyards. The Hyderabad variety is sweet with big seeds, whereas the north Indian varieties are mostly seedless.
This is the only fruit that has natural fructose and glucose (around 15 percent). In addition to being easily digestible grapes give a lot of energy. They also contain resinic,tartaric and mellic acids which help to keep the kidneys and intestines in a healthy condition. The alkaline effect of grapes is good for the body.Grapes also contain vitamins, 1.3 mg iron, 0.8 per cent protein, 0.02 per cent calcium, 10.2 per cent carbohydrates, 0.1 per cent fats, 0.02 per cent Phosphorous etc. It is said 45 to 50 calories can be obtained by consuming 100 grams of grapes. The nutrients present in this fruit make it part of a balanced diet. Doctors recommend grape pulp and juice for good health. The nutrition level also depends on the size and type of grapes.However, the grapes must be ripe to obtain all the nutrients. Grapes are also good for eyesight and help in clearing phlegm.Grapes, apart from being consumed fresh, are also dried and used. Raisins or kishmish have all the nutrients that grapes have. In desert regions, where milk is scarce, grapes supplement the nutritive intake.Our forefathers used grapes to cure several ailments. In fact, in the Sushruta Samhita, this fruit has been advocated for rejuvenation of energy. It is also believed to help in the efficient functioning of the stomach by improving blood circulation and digestion. If one consumes 8 to 10 raisins, the tiredness of old age can be tackled easily.In villages, people used dried grapes to remove phlegm. Ginger, milk and dried grapes are made into a paste and consumed. Raisins soaked in warm water are ideal for the common cold. Grapes to combat anaemia, foul breath, constipation and to improve the eyesight. Beauticians use the juice of this fruit to tone the skin. Usefulness apart, who can resist this luscious fruit?