Have you ever seen any weird foods or produce that just make you question how on earth something like this exists? Those foods, are the ones you have to try. The way the food and produce industry has become is one that aims to please the consumers. As the consumers, we often buy only what we think looks the best, most appealing types of food. What people usually tend to choose are foods that they also recognize and are familiar with. Cooking with something that you have never cooked with or even seen before can be extremely intimidating. However, because of this, we’ve caused many breeds of produce to come close to or become extinct. So keep an open mind and an open stomach to foods you might not recognize or you might be missing out on some amazing food forever!
On the way back from an amazing trip to the Paganelli wild boar farm one of my chefs pulled out these little sausage looking things and offered some to us. Since we were coming back from a wild boar farm I thought they might be some type of small salami. I could not have been more off base! Turns out they are a type of grape.
Once I got home I did some research to see what exactly these were. They are called Sapphire grapes or Moon Drop grapes and they are usually harvested from February to March and August to October. They originate from
Peru California but produced in Peru and are a result of many years of cross breeding.
The grape itself was extremely sweet but not overly so like a syrup. The flesh had a strong aromatic grape flavor similar to that of red grapes but stronger. The skin was moderately thick and was a bit more astringent than red grapes but less than those used to make red wines. The texture of the grape was extremely crisp to the point that you could snap the grape clean in half with your fingers. The shape of of it is one of its most unique aspects. From the photo you can tell that they are shaped like small sausages and have a deep purple color.
To be honest this is probably one of the most delicious and fun fruits I’ve ever had the chance to eat! I learned that my palate can also pick out flavors better than I originally thought as long as I slow down as I chew and taste my food. This proved to be hard to do with these grapes because they were so satisfying to eat. If I had the chance I would definitely eat these again (as long as they don’t cost an arm and leg to buy). I think grapes like this would be great for children as they are funnily shaped, taste amazing, and are nutritious as a produce. For those who are scared that this product is a result of GMO’s and bad to ingest. Fear not! These grapes were developed through a natural process of selective and cross breeding.
Earlier I mentioned that some breeds of produce have been driven to extinction due to consumers not wanting anything unfamiliar. Thankfully, there are producers out there that are creating new breeds like this sapphire/moon drop grape! As a chef, knowing both these facts really opens up my eyes to many possibilities in the ingredients I choose to use. I believe there should be a balance between providing a fun experience for your customers as well as giving them new experiences with foods that they might not know of.
For those who want a suggestion in what weird produce to try, I suggest the Kiwano fruit! It may look like an alien egg but it has a bunch of health benefits and…well I’ll let you find out what they taste like!
Jewel-Osco. (2015, September 16). Moon Drop Grapes. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CPCBLBpUcAEikhf.jpg
Superfoodly. (2017, September 19). What Are Moon Drop Grapes? Not What You Think. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.superfoodly.com/moon-drop-grapes/
Sweet Sapphire Grapes. (2018). Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.melissas.com/Sweet-Sapphire-Grapes-p/1727.htm
Sweet Sapphire®. (2018). Retrieved October 23, 2018, from http://internationalfruitgenetics.com/sweet-sapphire.php
I know this was a pretty text heavy post so if you made it this far then here a bonus little baby boar photo!
Edit: Thanks to Mariska and Will Lemmer for the correction on where they originated from!