Cotton candy grapes. No, I didn’t forget a comma there between “candy” and “grapes.” Cotton candy grapes! It’s exactly what it sounds like, where the grapes (which look green) taste like cotton candy. Apparently, it’s a Concord grape, which tastes sweet like cotton candy, but it’s not actually designed to be cotton candy, if that makes sense, according to NPR. Over time, David Cain, the fruit geneticist, who came up with the grape, cross pollinated millions of grapes to get the right flavor and texture. My favorite part is that part of the six to 15-year process, which is wild, these grapes start in the lab with a test tube because Cain and his team have to extract the baby embryos from the plant.
It only began selling 10 years ago in 2011 and I first tried them around 2017. Since they’re from California and a rather unique taste, I rarely see them. I always come across red, black and sour grapes, but rarely these. And since they rarely come around, the price is steep: About $10 for the bag at the top of this page at my local grocery store. For comparison, a same sized bag of red grapes runs you $3.98 at the same store.
But I think it’s worth it! I can’t not get them when they only come around once-in-a-while.
And as mentioned, to get the flavor, Cain bred the grapes; he didn’t add artificial flavors or sugars. The NPR article mentions that the there are 18 grams of sugar per 100 grams of grapes (which is one serving, the equivalent of about 24 grapes), which represents 12 percent more sugar than regular table grapes, but “far less than raisins, which have more than three times the carbs.”
“A lot of fruit becomes tasteless by the time somebody buys it,” Cain told NPR. “We want to change that.”
I don’t know about that; I still quite enjoy fresh apples, bananas and other varieties of grapes (black are my new favorite, aside from these). But there’s no denying that the cotton candy grapes left an impression upon me.
First, these are the only grapes I freeze. For some reason, freezing them makes them pop even more than eating them from the refrigerator like I normally do with grapes.
Second, getting that explosion of cotton candy flavoring in your mouth with each bite on the grape is wonderful and fun. It’s like being bad without being bad because you’re still eating grapes.
If you think you are not a fruit person or a grape person in particular or perhaps you are a fruit person but also not a grape person, then I highly recommend these grapes to you. They will ensure that you enjoy grapes.
And if you’re not a cotton candy person, then you’re a lost cause. I kid, but … only kind of.
Don’t forget to freeze them! Let them settle in room temperature for about five minutes or so, and then it’s a perfect little decadent-feeling snack.