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Harvesting and Storing Grapes

Growing your own grapes for jam, jelly, and of course wine can be fun.  Get the most flavor and productivity with proper harvesting and a bit of bird protection. 

Use your taste buds to determine ripeness.  Pick a grape from the tip of a bunch that is fully colored and looks ripe.  Harvest grapes when they are sweet and tasty.

In the meantime you may need to protect them from hungry birds.  Cover the planting with a fine mesh netting or better yet floating row covers that allow air, light and water through, but keep the heat in and birds out.  Make sure to secure the netting or fabric around the planting so the birds can’t reach the fruit.

Process grapes as soon as possible for the best flavor and nutrient value.  Store surplus grapes in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag for up to two weeks. 

So enjoy the harvest while adding a bit of Vitamin C and potassium to your diet.

A bit more information:  Grapes are relatively low in calories and high in health benefits.  Ten grapes contain about 40 calories while a cup of grape juice is about 150 calories. The phytonutrients in grapes promote heart health by potentially lowering blood pressure, preventing clots, and reducing inflammation. These phytonutrients also help fight various types of cancer.

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