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June 15, 2011

Experts' Experts: What's the best way to store grapes?


From the new (July/August) issue of Cook's Illustrated, the following advice:

We took bunches of red and white grapes and removed any on-the-verge or obviously rotten ones. Then we rinsed and dried half of each bunch, leaving the other half unrinsed. We also wondered if leaving the fruit on the stem hastens or delays spoilage, so we plucked some of the grapes from their stems and left the remaining clusters intact. Then we refrigerated all the samples in the perforated bags that we bought them in.

All of the rinsed grapes spoiled within just a couple of days. Why? Even though we had dried them as much as posssible, moisture exposure encouraged bacterial growth. The unrinsed loose grapes were the next to rot, as the now-exposed stem attachment point became an entryway for bacteria. Unrinsed stem-on grapes fared best, lasting nearly two weeks before starting to decay. In fact, as long as we periodically inspected the bunches and removed any decaying grapes, most of them โ€” both red and white samples โ€” kept for an entire month.

In sum: Don't pull grapes from their stems before refrigeration. Simply discard any that show signs of rotting and hold off on rinsing until just before serving.

June 15, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Ok amateurs - I store my grapes in the fermented form. I enjoy them with lunch and/or dinner. Stored grain is a breakfast food.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 16, 2011 1:01:32 PM

If you really want a treat, try freezing grapes. Remove from stem and wash. then place in plastic bags and put them in the freezer. If they're sufficiently sweet (like these: www.prima.com) then they won't actually get hard, but rather the sugar will keep them from freezing completely. Some people actually prefer grapes this way than eating them fresh.

Fill up your freezer and enjoy them for months.

Posted by: Dan | Jun 15, 2011 7:07:49 PM

Very important to prolong the eating life of those grapes, since fresh fruit is one of the categories of my four favorite foods on earth. (The others being steak, popcorn, and frilly lettuce. I never said I wasn't a philistine.)

When I want grapes, I want grapes NOW, and I don't have the discipline to put off my frenzy, so after I pick off the rotten ones I rinse well on stems, then pat them dry and stick them in front of a fan to dry off completely. I thoroughly wash the plastic bag they came in inside and out, shake it off, then dry it well with paper towels. When the grapes are dry they go back in the dry bag then in the fridge. Boom! - grapes that keep a long time and don't make me work and wait.

Posted by: Flautist | Jun 15, 2011 6:02:22 PM

the rotting ones are giving off death pheromones (ethylenes) causing the others to hasten death. I think.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 15, 2011 3:37:32 PM

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