In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is grape a berry?” and provide information on the structure of grapes, their developmental stages as well as names of some other berries.
Is grape a berry?
Yes, a grape is a berry. Berries are considered fruits that contain a considerable amount of flesh. A grape fits into this definition.
However, some individuals believe that grapes are not berries. This is because berries should not have stones. As grapes have hard pits, some do not think that grapes can classify as berries.
However, as the seed of grapes is present in the center, it is not considered a stone. As a result, grapes are berries.
What is a structure of a grape berry?
The grape has a skin called the exocarp. The exocarp is further covered by a structure known as a cuticle. A grape can lose its moisture content through the cuticle though this can happen very gradually.
Below the exocarp, there is a layer of cells. These cells are called the hypodermis. A hypodermis is able to store many phenolic compounds. These phenolic compounds can increase in concentration once the grape matures.
These phenolic compounds can help in improving the aroma, color, and taste of grapes. Apart from phenolic compounds, the hypodermis can hold tannins.
These tannins can contribute to bitterness. However, when the grape matures, there is an alteration in the structure of tannins which can reduce bitterness in grapes.
In red grapes, there can be anthocyanins present in the hypodermis. These anthocyanins are responsible for fruity flavor and contribute to certain health benefits.
Cells that build the flesh of grapes are larger in size. They contain vacuoles that hold the sugar of grapes. Glucose and fructose are the two major sugars found in grapes.
Apart from sugar, grapes can also contain phenolic compounds and tannins present in vacuoles too. As the grape matures, the water content in grapes increases, and the levels of tannins and phenolic compounds can reduce.
Grape seeds are present in the locules of grapes. The seeds of grapes contain a seed coat, endosperm, and embryo.
As the seeds grow in size, the size of grapes grows too. The size of a grape can be determined by the number of grape seeds present in them.
How does the grape berry develop?
There are 3 stages for the formation of grape berry which are given below:
- Stage 1 is the phase that lasts for 60 days. During this stage, there is rapid cell division. The berry increases in volume and there can be an increase in tannins and malic acid levels.
However, sugar levels are still low. Tannins can be particularly found in the skin and seeds of grapes.
- In Stage 2, the berries would stop growing in size whereas the seeds can start growing. After 5-10 days, there is an expansion of cells. Acids and tannins can reach their maximum levels during this stage. It is termed as veraison.
- In Stage 3, the berry would slowly start to soften. There would be more accumulation in sugars and fewer acids present. The size of the berry would increase after veraison.
Certain aroma compounds present in berries can also reduce. There can be an increase in sugar levels seen. There can be a reduction in tannins observed.
What are some other berries?
- Blackberries and raspberries can be one-seeded drupelets that can originate from a single flower.
- Strawberry is another fruit that develops from a single flower. It contains small seeds embedded in the receptacle. These tiny seeds present on the outer section of the fruit are responsible for its gritty texture.
- Blueberries, Cranberries, and Huckleberries come from the genus Vaccinium. The colors of these berries can range from dark blue and red to purple color. Huckleberry is particularly fleshy and has a bitter aftertaste.
On the other hand, cranberries have a very acidic taste. As a result, it cannot be eaten in a raw form. It is instead cooked or processed to prepare jams, jellies, sauces, puddings, or drinks.
- Goji berries also called wolfberries are native to China. It is used popularly in traditional Chinese medicine and is becoming quite popular in the West.
Goji berries contain polyphenols that were seen to improve antioxidant levels in individuals who either ate or consumed them in the form of juice.
- Açaí berries are native to Brazil. It is popularly added to health supplements because of its antioxidant properties. They are consumed in dried form.
In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is grape a berry?” and provided information on the structure of grapes, their developmental stages as well as names of some other berries.