When you want to sink your teeth into a refreshing snack, nothing beats the satisfaction of a plump grape as it bursts in your mouth, tantalizing the tastebuds with its delectable balance of tart and sweet flavor. That’s why no one should ever have to suffer the letdown that comes from bringing home a bag of grapes and reaching in to pluck one from its stem only to discover that it’s soggy (or worse, moldy). Fortunately, this sad scenario is entirely avoidable. We went straight to the source (aka The California Table Grape Commission) to learn how to store grapes so every last berry in the bag delivers that crunchy deliciousness for up to two weeks.
1. Pick the best bunch
No amount of trickery will save your grapes if you bought a bad bag to begin with, but that’s easy to avoid with a little know-how. Don’t be shy about looking your berries over before you take them to the checkout lane. That transparent plastic bag, often sitting unsealed in the produce section, makes it a cinch to sneak a peek. At their best, grapes will be round, full and firmly attached to a flexible green stem. It’s a bad sign if the stems look brown and brittle, or if you notice an unusually large number of loose grapes at the bottom of the bag. And you know that strange, white powdery stuff sometimes found on the surface of grapes? It’s not the poisonous residue of pesticides, after all. (Phew!) That substance is actually called bloom— it’s 100 percent organic and forms naturally on the exterior of grapes to protect them from decay. If you find a bunch with plenty of bloom, buy ‘em.
2. Don’t wash them all at once
Definitely don’t eat grapes without first giving them a quick rinse to remove dirt, but do resist the temptation to wash the whole bag in one go. Although grapes thrive in humid conditions, they will start to mold if they get too wet. Only wash the quantity you plan to consume immediately and leave the rest the way you found them so your fruit stays fresher for longer.
3. Keep them well-ventilated
Remember what we said about humid environments helping grapes retain their moisture? This is true but in order to benefit from humidity in the air, your berries need to breathe. Good news: The storage container your grapes came home in is where they should stay. Those plastic bags might not look fancy, but they’re the ideal packaging for this fussy fruit because the bags have holes that help the berries stay well-ventilated and happy.
4. Store in the fridge for ultimate freshness
Yes, grapes like humidity...but not the hot kind. They call grapes the fruit of the gods, so it’s sort of fitting that they’re a little persnickety. Grapes do best when stored somewhere humid and cold. In fact, their ideal storage temperature is a frigid 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t let these berries bum around in a fruit bowl—send them straight to the fridge instead. The crisper drawer of your refrigerator was basically designed with grapes in mind, so tuck the open bag in there and you’ll have checked all the boxes. These little bursts of flavor will happily sit there for up to two weeks. Fancy cheese plate, anyone?