Last Updated on December 9, 2021
Who doesn’t love sweet juicy grapes? But they never last! In this article, we will cover exactly how to make grapes last longer and more!
Grapes are very delicate fruits; it’s a surprise they last as long as they do! But, by applying good storage practices, you can extend their shelf life two-fold! Simply store them in cool, well-ventilated areas with little moisture and high humidity – it’s easier than it sounds, we promise!
The Shelf Life
Grapes are delicious fruits that are actually classified as berries. Yes, you read that correctly; berries! As you probably know, grapes are primarily used as fresh fruits or to make grape juice and wine.
But, when it comes to the pastry kitchen, grapes have a wide range of uses. You can use fresh grapes to make berry compotes, flavored glazes, toppings for tarts and cakes, and even make candied grapes to use as decoration!
But, unfortunately, the biggest downside to having grapes in the kitchen is their short shelf life. Grapes will only last about 7 days at room temperature and maybe (at the very most) 2 weeks inside of the fridge.
How to Tell When They Have Gone Bad
The signs for grapes going bad are very obvious. The first thing you will start to notice is that they start becoming soft and don’t have the firm texture that they use to have.
Then, you will start noticing the color-changing, especially in lighter color grape varieties like white or green grapes. The color will change from being nice and bright to shades of brown. You will also sometimes notice brown spots forming on the surface of the grapes.
When they are left for far too long, they will eventually start to ferment and give off a vinegar-like odor. This fermentation takes place because the sugars inside the berries are being converted to acid by the bacteria on the grapes.
And finally, you will start noticing mold appear on the surface. Once this happens, the berries are completely inedible and should be safely discarded.
What can I do If they are Soft?
If you have noticed that your grapes are starting to become soft and will no longer be nice to eat fresh, don’t throw them out just yet! You can still use them in some type of cooked form.
These grapes have only softened in texture and will most likely still have a semi-decent flavor, especially if they have just started going soft.
So, by cooking them to create a jam, jelly, or compote, you are in a sense extending their shelf life. These recipes all contain sugar which will act as a preservative. This way you can use them later as decoration or garnish.
You can use our blackberry jam as a base recipe for grape jam. Substitute the blackberries with fresh grapes – it’s as easy as that!
How To Keep Grapes Fresh
Keeping grapes fresh is actually very easy if you just remember to follow these tips when bringing them home from the store.
Store them unwashed
It is incredibly important to store any type of grape (fruits in general) without washing them first. This is especially important for fruits with thinner skins including strawberries, apples, and stone fruits.
Washing these fruits does two things that are detrimental to their shelf life. The first is that it strips the fruit of some of its natural protective layers that help keep them fresher for longer.
The second is that the additional water droplets that will now stay on the surface of the fruit will attract bacteria and aid in their growth. Bacteria need moisture to multiply. So, the less moisture there is, the slower the fruit will spoil.
Only once you are ready to eat them or use them in a recipe should you wash them until cold running water. Do not wash them with any type of chemical or soap. Rinsing them is enough and won’t introduce harmful objects or bruise the skin.
Keep them in a well-ventilated area
Good airflow will reduce the chances of bacteria growing, especially in colder climates. This circulation of cold air will ensure that all of the individual berries are protected and not only the outside ones.
If you have large bunches, it will help to divide them into a few smaller ones to aid in air circulation.
You should also keep grapes in their original packaging with holes inside.
Cold temperatures work best
We don’t want to say that this should be set in stone, because many people prefer storing their grapes at room temperature. However, colder temperatures make grapes last considerably longer!
Remove the bad ones
This may seem obvious, but again, it comes down to actually doing it! Before storing your grapes, remove any ones that are less than optimal and either throw them out or store them separately depending on how deteriorated they are.
Keep them away from strong odors
Grapes are very porous and will absorb string odors almost immediately – this will naturally affect their taste. This means, make sure you keep them away from ingredients like onions, garlic, aromatic condiments (if opened), and spices.
How To Store Grapes In The Refrigerator
Yes, believe it or not, but there is a correct way to store grapes inside of your refrigerator.
First, you should always aim for the temperature to be between 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also keep them at the back of the fridge where it usually is much cooler.
They also do well in high humidity areas like the crisper drawer. Ideally, they should be kept in areas with a humidity of between 90-95%. But, remember, high humidity does not mean high moisture. Your grapes should still be kept away from water (being washed before being stored) and any sources that could cause condensation (like direct sunlight).
Another great tip for storing grapes inside the fridge is to keep them away from the cooling units’ airflow path. This will make the grapes dehydrate and cause them to shrivel up very quickly.
How To Make Grapes Last Longer Using A Freezer
You can freeze these fruits to make them last longer, however, we only recommend doing so when you want to cook them later or if you want to eat them as frozen snacks.
When freezing fruit, the liquid inside obviously freezes and forms ice crystals. When they defrost, the ice crystals melt and causes the fruit to lose their firm structure. So again, only freeze them if you are planning to make a compote or jam where the texture doesn’t matter.
To freeze them, simply place them inside an airtight container and inside the freezer.
The Best Way To Store Grapes; Final Thoughts
As you can see, it is actually very easy to keep grapes fresh by simply using the best ways to store grapes. If you have any other useful tricks you like to follow, let us know in the comments below!
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.