Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone

Subject: North American Fruit Explorers mailing list at ibiblio

List archive

Chronological Thread  
  • From: "Stephen Sadler" <>
  • To: "'North American Fruit Explorers'" <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone
  • Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 14:42:52 -0800

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: [] 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 <> wrote:

From: Stephen Sadler <>
Subject: [NAFEX] Question for Lon - or anyone
To: "'North American Fruit Explorers'" <>
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)

nafex mailing list

Reproduction of list messages or archives is not allowed.
This includes distribution on other email lists or reproduction on web sites.
Permission to reproduce is NEVER granted, so don't claim you have permission!

Posts from email addresses that are not subscribed are discarded.
No exceptions. 
To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to the bottom of this page (also can be used to change other email options):

File attachments are NOT stripped by this list.
Please do not send binary files.
Use plain text ONLY in emails!

NAFEX web site:


Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.24.

Top of Page