Tradition: Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated fruits, perhaps as old as mankind. Evidence suggests that they were cultivated in Asia as early as 5000 BC. The grape also played a role in numerous biblical stories, being referred to as the ‘fruit of the vine’. During the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, grapes were revered for their use in winemaking.
||Where they are grown: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75,866 square kilometers of the world are dedicated to grapes. Grapes are grown in the temperate zones around the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. India is also one of the tropical countries that grows grapes.
Season: Grapes are available throughout the year, and the season varies across various varieties of grapes. The best season for purple grapes is from July to December.
Health benefits: Susruta and Charaka in their medical treatises titled Susruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita, respectively, written during 1356-1220 BC, mentioned the medicinal properties of grapes. Grapes contain beneficial phytonutrient compounds called flavonoids. The stronger the colour of grapes, the higher is the concentration of flavonoids. Ripe grapes are easily digested. They are delicious, good thirst quenchers, and effective as a laxative. Grapes are known for their antibacterial properties and are good for decreasing the risk of heart disease and cancer (antioxidant in nature).
Calories: The nutritive value of grapes varies slightly with the variety of grapes. However, grapes are a good natural source for glucose, fructose and flavonoids. Grapes are also low in calories and purple grapes supply nearly 60 calories with 15 gm of carbohydrates.
Purple Grape Smoothie
Brinjal or Eggplant
Where they are grown: Eggplant is native to southern India and Sri Lanka. This plant was introduced into Europe many years ago and it is now cultivated there. This vegetable is known as Malayan purple melon in China.
||Tradition: Eggplant was first domesticated in India. The seeds were carried to China more than 1500 years ago where the small-fruit types were later developed. The name eggplant is believed to derive from Gerard's description of early forms with small, white fruit resembling eggs.
Season: Summer to autumn is the best season.
Health benefits: Eggplant is believed traditionally to be hypotensive, antihaemorrhoidal, a cholesterol regulator and an anti-diabetic. In traditional Chinese medicine, all parts of the plant can be used to stop intestinal bleeding. In Indochina, parts of the plant are used as a purgative.
Calories: Brinjals are a good choice for those who are looking to cut down their calories. 100 gm of eggplant supplies only 24 kcal. Eggplant is also a rich source of potassium and 100 gm of the edible portion of the vegetable supplies nearly 200 mg of potassium.
Roasted Eggplant Chutney