Aurora 21 Grapes
Inventory, lb : 0
Aurora 21 grapes are a medium to large varietal with large, tightly packed bunches, also known as umbels and oversized berries. The bunches generally exhibit an elliptical to conical appearance, and the berries grow close to the stalk. Each berry averages 21 to 40 grams in weight and has a round to oval, curved nature, varying in shape depending on how it is pressed into the bunch by the surrounding berries. The grape’s skin is thin, smooth, glossy, and taut with a firm, crisp nature. The skin ripens from green to yellow-green and develops a light red, crimson, to red-pink blush on portions of the bunch exposed to ample amounts of sunlight during cultivation. The blush can be opaque to faint and is sometimes speckled, and the skin is challenging to peel from the flesh as it is tightly adhered. Underneath the surface, the flesh is pale yellow-green, translucent, aqueous, tender, and dense with a melting, succulent consistency. The flesh is also seedless. Aurora 21 grapes release a muscat-like fragrance when ripe and are edible raw. The variety is known for its high sugar content, ranging around 21 degrees Brix, and low acidity, creating a light, sweet, and subtly fruity taste.
Aurora 21 grapes are harvested in the late summer through early fall.
Aurora 21 grapes, botanically classified as Vitis vinifera, are a Japanese variety belonging to the Vitaceae family. The variety was released to commercial markets in the early 21st century and is a rare cultivar sold as a high-end grape. Aurora 21 grapes grow in large, conical bunches reaching up to 500 grams in weight, and the fruits remain firmly attached to the stems and central stalk, giving them a full appearance. The variety is larger than most commercial grapes in Japan, and to obtain its ideal size, weight, and sugar content, Aurora 21 grapes are grown under specialized conditions. Only a few producers cultivate Aurora 21 grapes annually, and the variety is produced in limited quantities, selecting the best bunches to maintain quality. One of the unique growing practices is using reflective sheets in the fields to bounce sunlight onto all sides of the fruits. This allows the variety’s distinct red blush to develop, enhancing the overall visual appeal. In the modern day, Aurora 21 grapes are premium grape bunches sold through select retailers as a high-end, luxury fruit, primarily given as gifts or served during special occasions. The variety is available in limited quantities and is eaten fresh to savor the grape’s subtle nuances.
Aurora 21 grapes are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and calcium to build strong bones and teeth. The grapes also provide manganese to develop connective tissues, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, vitamin A to maintain healthy organs, and other nutrients, including vitamin K and zinc. Grapes notably contain polyphenols, which are compounds in the flesh with antioxidant-like properties to protect overall health and well-being. The variety also acquires its seedless nature from being treated with gibberellin before and after flowering. Gibberellin is a naturally occurring plant hormone that helps regulate certain plant processes, including seed production.
Aurora 21 grapes have a sweet and subtly fruity taste suited for fresh preparations. The variety is typically consumed out of hand and is savored for its juicy, crisp nature, large size, and delicate flavor. Aurora 21 grapes can also be served on charcuterie boards, fruit platters, and other appetizers, and their large size distinguishes them from other Japanese grape varieties. The variety is a rare cultivar only produced in limited quantities, so most consumers choose to eat the grape by itself. The skin can be eaten with the flesh and is thin, creating an overall pleasant experience. Aurora 21 grapes can also be lightly chilled before serving and are used as a decorative topping over tarts, cakes, pudding, and other desserts. While less common, Aurora 21 grapes can be used in recipes calling for grapes. The cultivar can be simmered into jams, jellies, and compotes, incorporated into fresh juices and wine, or dried into raisins for extended use. Aurora 21 grapes pair well with fruits such as strawberries, pears, apples, and melon, vanilla, maple syrup, cream, chocolate, and spices, including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Whole, unwashed Aurora 21 grapes should be immediately consumed for the best quality and flavor. The bunches can also be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.
Aurora 21 grape is the commercial name of a variety known as Red Alisa in Japan. The grapes are said to be related to Alisa, a yellow-green Japanese commercial cultivar, and were named Red Alisa for their signature red blush speckled across the surface. Aurora 21 grapes that do not pass strict regulations are sold in fresh markets under the Red Alisa descriptor. The name Aurora was given to the variety for the grape’s red-flecked coloring. It is said this coloring resembles the brilliant light displays that naturally occur in the sky known by the same name. Aurora 21 grapes were also declared a representative variety of the 21st century. The grapes were commercially released in the 21st century, often contain 21 degrees Brix, a sugar measurement, and each grape weighs around 21 grams.
Aurora 21 grapes are native to Japan and were developed by breeder Kazuo Harada in the Yamanashi Prefecture. The variety was created from a cross between Rizamat and Rubel Muscat grapes and was selectively bred, evaluated, and trialed for several years. After their creation, Aurora 21 grapes were initially named Red Alisa grapes but were later changed to Aurora 21 to attract increased consumer appeal. The variety was released to commercial markets in 2002 and is managed under the Alisa Aurora Association or AAA. This association controls growers allowed to produce the variety and helps maintain strict quality assessments to ensure the grapes being sold under the brand name meet expectations. The association also holds classes and training sessions to educate growers on effectively cultivating grapes and improving production. Today, Aurora 21 grapes are challenging to find in markets and are a seasonal delicacy offered in small quantities throughout Japan. Each authentic Aurora 21 grape bunch is labeled with a signature sticker or label.