Sweet, juicy grapes are the best, but not when they get soft and squishy.
For a long time, I was allowing my sweet fruit to go bad without even knowing it. I did that by washing them right away, and then leaving them out on the counter.
I figured, since they grow in warm climates, they’d be fine on my kitchen counter. Boy was I wrong.
Here’s a quick look at how I store them, now that I know better. I recommend that you do the same, in order to make them last.
Picking only the best
When it comes to getting the most out of this juicy fruit, the decisions that you make at the store can have an impact.
You want to avoid buying a bunch that is overripe. Seems obvious, but if you don’t know what to look for, it can happen.
Be sure to choose fruit that is firmly attached to the stems, not falling off. Also, find ones that are plump and free of wrinkles.
You’ll want to avoid any with major discoloration or bruises, as that’s another sign of expiration and damage.
Keep them cold
The best place to store this fruit is in the refrigerator. They like to be kept nice and cool.
Between 30-40°F is ideal. I recommend placing them in a paper bag, or a plastic bag that is breathable.
You can also freeze this fruit for an icy treat.
To prevent your washed grapes from sticking together and creating a rock solid brick, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze overnight. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag where they’ll keep for up to a year.
Frozen grapes make a great snack, dessert, or even a delicious way to keep your drink cold.
Give them room to breathe
You’ll also want to avoid stacking them on top of each other. Separate the fruit into two bunches for storage, and use another bag if you need to.
When you stack them you restrict air circulation, and that will cause them to spoil sooner. If stored properly, they will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Washing and prep
When you’re ready to eat, be sure to wash them really well under cool running water. From there, they’ll be ready for consumption or cooking.
If you’re cooking, be sure to dry them with a paper towel so they don’t water down your recipe.
That being said, if you’ve never cooked with this fruit, you really must. They taste amazing roasted and paired with a green salad, rice dish, or protein entree.
They’re also wonderful baked in pies and quick breads. Or, you could always make your own homemade jam or jelly.
Like raisins? Expert selection and proper refrigeration still counts here, since you want to dry your fruit at the peak of ripeness and freshness. DIY raisins make an excellent addition to homemade biscotti.
I hope this helps you to avoid some of the storage mistakes I made when I first started buying this fruit.
Where I’m from, grapes tend to be pretty pricey, so I like to really get my money’s worth. I’m sure you do as well!
What’s your favorite grape recipe? Have a new storage tip to share? Let me know in the comments!
Photo credits: Shutterstock.
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.
18 thoughts on “How to Pick, Prep, and Store Grapes”
I usually store mine in a crisper drawer that I line with a couple of clean paper towels, but I like the paper bag idea a lot better since I can get a paper bag for free from the grocery store and it creates less waste.
I used to feed my nieces frozen grapes, and they loved them. I also use them when making instant gelatin, instead of using ice cubes, to make the gelatin firm up faster. I found this to be an effective way to sneak in some fresh fruit for picky eaters.
Another idea might be to use them in place of ice cubes when you are blending fresh fruit smoothies. I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan to soon since they should be on sale now.
The ways that you suggested are normally how I store my fruit. I almost died when you said you leave them on the counter. All I can think of is how much money you must have been losing.
I never thought of freezing grapes. My kids love them and that’s sounds like a pretty cool snack to give them in the summertime. Much better than messy popsicles.
My next adventure is going to be learning to dry my own fruit. I’m gad you mentioned that in the article and hope to get a look at it very soon. The first I would like to try drying is apples, raisins and plantain. Thanks for the great post.
One of my favourite grape recipes would have to be raisin bread! It’s so delicious and I could eat it for days 😀 These tips are also a great help since I always buy a bunch but half of them always go bad! Will definitely be using the freezer tip for hot days in the Summer!
With the price of grapes these days (on shopping yesterday they were $12!!) these are great tips.
I am bad for not giving them room to breath, and they go bad in under a weak.
You and my wife are right, time to stop this bad habit.
Cooking them huh? Will have to try it out!
Any recipe suggestions??
I’m really disappointed that I don’t do more with grapes because they’re basically my favorite fruit outside of apples and clementines. Frozen grapes sound amazing, and I imagine they’re especially refreshing on a nice hot day in summer. I’ve never even once considered cooking with them. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of food you’d typically cook with. I’ll have to look up some recipes for them. Thanks!
I never put grapes in the fridge but store them in a plastic bowl sitting on the kitchen table. They never end up spoiling because they’re one of my favorite fruits. 😉 Frozen grapes would indeed be a nice alternative to ice cubes, especially when making drinks.
But what exactly does it mean when a grape has wrinkels one it, and how do these wrinkles develop?
(Great article though, thanks a lot Sarah!)
I had no idea that you should store them in a paper bag! I will be sure to do that from now on. I have heard about freezing them but I rarely remeber to do so. It almost seems like i would need to buy two bags, one to eat right away and one to freeze. My family wants to eat them up as soon as I get them.
One of our favorite ways to eat them is on toothpicks paired with small cubes of cheese. We like to take them with us to pot lucks and they are always a hit with the kids. They also are great for picnics.
I have to agree with keeping them cold. One of my favorite things to do is pop them in the freezer. There is nothing better or more satisfying for a sweet treat than frozen grapes. They’re also good to bring to work because they will still be cold when lunch comes around.
After reading this, I feel that I have neglected my grapes entirely. I would store them in the fridge, generally in a draw but unwrapped. I like the paper bag idea quite a lot, rather than using plastic. I also never thought to actually give them room to breathe in the fridge. I probably just throw them in a crisper draw with all my other fruits. Generally, a bunch only last a few days at best, and now I feel I know why. But they are one of my favorite snacks, and I cannot wait to try some of these tricks and try to make some raisin bread or something tasty.
I always keep my grapes in the fridge now, after I noticed just how quickly they can go off when they are stored elsewhere. I used to enjoy keeping them on my kitchen table, because I liked to pick at them whenever I walked past, however they just weren’t lasting long enough and it got to the stage where I was having to throw half a bag away before I had even had the chance to eat them. So I am happy that I have discovered a better way to store them, even though it is a lot more effort for me to get to them now!
There was a time when my dad bought A LOT (like a dozen kilos or so) of grapes << his friend is a grapes farmer, or sth, so… We had to put them all in the refrigerator, in separate packs (per kilo) so that it's not too compressed, and a lot more organized. In the end, we sold them to our neighbors and friends. Although some of those that were left couldn't avoid spoilage 🙁 I wanted to make jam or sth with them but I was really busy then and didn't have any time to do much about anything 🙁 Well, that's that.
I agree with the "breathable plastic bags" that was one of the reasons (the other would be the putting it in the fridge) why our grapes lasted for several weeks 😀
Thank a lot!
I always had the same problem with grapes as with bananas. I bought them, they looked nice and then from one day to the other they just went bad.
I had never really never thought about storage. I had always just bought them and tossed them in the fridge to be honest. If they got soft there were compost.
Frozen and roasted grapes! I’ve never tried either – but I will. Grapes are quite inexpensive where I live – they’re the main crop all along the valley. I often buy too many just because I can, I’ve never tried storing them in the freezer and I’ve never cooked with them. I can’t wait until the harvests in September. I’ve bookmarked this article and will check out those recicpes.
Grapes are probably my favorite fruit. Not only are they tasty when they get big but you can do a lot of stuff with them, especially wine which is my favorite alcoholic drink. I agree that frozen “white” grapes are a treat now that it’s hot outside, definitely try them out! 😀
Well I am pretty sure that I am not alone in getting frustrated whenever I have to throw away fruit that otherwise should have and could have been eaten, and this really looks like some solutions to that problem. It just makes sense, and especially given the fact that I just hate wasting food, especially healthy and fresh food. I love me some grapes too, and I often have to waste some of them too. Thank you for sharing this and it will be really helpful for me.
I have had them straight from the freezer before, but I never thought of tossing them into a beverage to keep it chilled. That’s a cool idea (no pun intended). I bet the grandkids would like that.
I didn’t realize that if they are starting to fall from the vine they are getting overripe, but that makes sense. I’ll pay closer attention next time I go to pick some up. I do have to say that they don’t really stick around long enough to go bad, but even so, the fresher the better.