[NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Mon Nov 23 17:42:52 EST 2009

There are the on-the-tongue flavors, like sweet and acid/sour; then there
are the deeper flavors, richness, that let you know one sweet/acid fruit
from another.  Some of these crisp, balanced grapes I've been buying lately
do well with the former, but the latter is completely missing.  I love those
crispy things though - a fruit that is juicy, sweet, tart, and snaps when I
bite it is something I can forgive even a lack of depth of flavor.  But a
concentrate of these grapes is used as a fruit-based sweetener; there is
nothing there to influence the final flavor.  Try that with Concord
concentrate - it would overwhelm.  Concord is, I suppose, what I think of as
iconically grapey - but I don't care which grapiness  a grape his, or what
other flavors it brings to the table.  I remember my first time tasting wine
grapes, like Pinot Noir,  full of rich flavor.  Why hadn't it occurred to me
before that delicious wine would come from delicious grapes?  And why are
some varieties only considered wine grapes, rather than table grapes, or
grapes to be preserved by methods other that juice fermentation?  


When I was young seeded full-flavored table varieties were giving way to
seedless ones.   What made me think of all this is that the other day at the
store a mother was buying grapes for her daughter.  She picked a seedless
variety racked just above the Concords.  I was thinking, "That poor child
may have never actually tasted 'grape' " - at least not in an actual grape.
Turned out the mother hadn't either.


For a long time I had simply thought seedless, thornless, and otherwise
convenient fruits often are coincidentally bereft of fullness and complexity
of flavor, and that a proper goal of plant breeding would be to have both
flavor and convenience in one or more varieties.  


Now I wonder.  Warm-water ocean fish outsell colder water ocean or
fresh-water fish.  My suspicion about why this is was confirmed when I read
that Tilapia producers had bred the 'fishiness' out of it to suit the
American palate; one which seems to want fish to be a Wonderbread of a main
course, with all the flavor coming from sauces, breading, fat, salt.  Fat
and salt, but not the flavorful fats beneath the skin of cold-water fish,
not the salt of brine.  I bought venison a while back that has been bred to
be the Tilapia of game; and store-bought pheasant is milder that
factory-produced skinless, boneless, fill-in-your-own-less chicken breasts.


Is this happening with fruit?  Or are fruit-eaters a healthier and more
hedonistic sort that enjoys flavor?  Or is fruit breeding now influenced by
people who can't stand any full-flavored thing, who sit in front of the TV
with their breaded-mystery-meat sandwich, a deep-fried potato product of
generic provenance and a few white seedless grapes; a snack to eat as they
watch Top Chef or the Food Network, maybe read an article from the final
issue of Gourmet?


~ Stephen


From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Melissa Kacalanos
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 10:14 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone


I'm sure Lon can answer this better, but just for the sake of hearing from
different tastebuds: What do you mean by "tastes like a grape"? I think of
this as tasting like grape candy, which is sort of like the 'Concord' grape
fragrance. Wine snobs call it "foxiness" and sneer at it, but I like it. I
was very impressed with the seedless variety 'Marquis' which has this
flavor, so I planted it. I've heard that the seedless 'Mars' also has it,
but I haven't tried it.

But there are other ways grapes can taste like grapes. I was amazed by
'Jupiter' which tastes sort of like orange blossoms smell. This is a
"muscat" flavor, which Europeans treasure, but Americans generally have
never heard of.

There are other flavors too. I've been wondering what else I should try.


--- On Mon, 11/23/09, Stephen Sadler <Docshiva at Docshiva.org> wrote:

From: Stephen Sadler <Docshiva at Docshiva.org>
Subject: [NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone
To: "'North American Fruit Explorers'" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Monday, November 23, 2009, 1:02 PM

The first release of each seedless grape variety in the stores this fall
have included grapes that are scrumptious in their crispness and sweet/acid
balance - but not a whole lot of fullness, depth; not much grape flavor.  Is
there a good choice for a crisp, seedless grape that tastes like a grape?  I
see a seedless "Eastern Concord" in a catalog here on my desk, but I don't
know if it would fit the bill as an eating/dessert grape or as at least an
easier-to-process Concord.  

Any thoughts or suggestions of something I might plant?

~ Stephen
Central Valley, CA
Zone 9, Mediterranean climate (Sunset 14)

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