It is a member of the grape genus vitis (family Vitaceae) with about 60 species native to the north temperate region, including variations that may be eaten as table fruit, dried to produse raisins or crushed to make grape wine. In wine-making, Vitis vinifera is commonly used.
In North America, the grape is a woody vine climbing by means of tendrils (modified branches) and when untrained often reaching a length of 17 metres, (56 ft) or more. In arid regions, it may form an almost erect shrub. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed and always two-edged. Small greenish flowers in, clusters, precede the fruit which varies in colour from almost black to green, red and amber. Botanically the fruit is a berry more or less globular within juicy pulp of which lie the seeds. In many varieties, the fruit is covered with a whitish powder bloom. All grapes contain sugar (glucose and fructose) in varying quantities depending upon the variety.
Grape culture or viticulture is nearly as old as man. Noah planted a vineyard. In Homer's time, wine was a regular commodity among the Greeks. Pliny, the elder, described 91 varieties of grapes, distinguished 50 kinds of wine and described vine training mathods.
The mature fruit of all varieties may ferment into a kind of wine when crushed and most groups can be dried or eaten fresh. But only a limited number of varieties produce standard or higher quality wines, three varieties account for most of the raisins of commerce, only 15 to 20 varieties are grown extensively as table grapes.
Grape jelly is often made from grape juice both commercially and in the home. For grape jelly, concorn is the favoured variety. Raisins have been made for many centuries by drying suitable varieties of grapes. Raisins have a sugar content of 66% to 72%.
Grape contains a number of vitamins, iron and minerals. It is prescribed in acute constipation, fevers, liver and stomach troubles. It is a tonic, rejuvenative and refresher.
Benefit and uses of Grape.
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