Grapes and raisins are both popular in every Indian household. Our day starts with a healthy heaping of grapes alongside breakfast. We add kishmish to sweet and savoury dishes – be it cake, kheer, biryani or curries!
Do you wonder where these sweet additions to our meals come from?
India is the world’s ninth-largest grape-producing country. Nashik, a district in Maharashtra, is known as the Grape Capital of India. In 1925, entrepreneur Ramrao J Gaikwad started the commercial production of grapes here.
Today, this houses some of the best wineries in the subcontinent. Nashik raisins, or kismish, are high in demand across the country.
Let’s take a look at how they grow into the sweet treats that they are!
Where do they Grow?
Grapes are grown in 5 steps: planting, trellising, pruning, fertilisation and harvesting. The cycle takes 5-6 months, spanning from November to April.
Nashik’s red and black soils with high acidic content are ideal for fruit growth. With the arrival of winter, temperatures dip and leave a perfect environment for grapes to ripen. Their sugar content develops and their sourness balances this well.
Kalvan, Niphad, Malegaon, Sinnar, Nandgaon, Dindori and Surgana are some of the catchment areas for grape production in the district. This zone currently produces over 20 lakh metric tonnes of grapes every year.
Common Varieties in India
There are many varieties of grapes: red, green, purple, and black.
- Thompson Seedless or Sultana which is seedless, elongated and green, popular for its medium sweetness. Its mutants – Sonaka, Manik Chaman and Tas-a-Ganesh- are commonly used to make golden raisins.
- Sharad Seedless Grapes predominantly thrive in Maharashtra. These are black-purple in colour and seedless too. Slightly crispy in texture, they also have a high vitamin content. These are used to make black and brown raisins.
- The Black Sonaka variety is striking in its appearance – pitch-black grapes that jazz up any meal. They are sweet, seedless and long.
- Anab-e-Shahi and Dilkhush are two smaller, round, light green variants. Tangier in taste, they are best suited for raw consumption or adding to salads.
- Bangalore Blue is a native of the Karnataka state, as the name suggests. With an oval shape and plenty of seeds, this dark blue-purple variety stands out.
From Grapes to Raisins
Did you know that about a tenth of the total grapes grown each year goes towards the production of raisins? This process involves washing and drying. When grapes are washed and treated with a preservative solution, they resist fermentation. The grapes are then sun-dried and sorted out based on their shape and colour, before being packed.
Grapes available in local markets are most likely to contain pesticides. Now, the raisins you commonly find around you are cleaned with chemicals and dried using harmful solutions to accelerate production.
Chemical contaminants cannot be washed clean, so it’s advisable to buy organic and cut these chemicals out altogether. Indic Living’s grapes are 100% organically grown. Our raisins are made using organic washing techniques and sundried without any chemicals.
Grapes contain antioxidants, and polyphenols and are high in fibre content. They can help reduce blood pressure, keep your heart healthy and promote better digestive health. They are also rich in vitamins A and C – ensuring better immunity and great eyesight.
Raisins can keep your sugar in check, helping you fight diabetes. They are also rich in iron, copper and vitamins that improve blood circulation. They are a powerful weapon while fighting anaemia. The calcium and boron present in them also strengthen your bones.
Young or old, they are a gift for everyone in the family.
Where Can I Buy Them?
Check out the freshest produce of the season online now!
By: Moushumi Mishra