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Pione grapes are large in size and are round to oval in shape, averaging 2-4 centimeters in diameter. The violet-black skin is thick, smooth, firm and has a distinct wine-like flavor. The flesh is a pale, translucent green, juicy, and generally seedless with a jelly-like consistency. Some seeds may be present in the flesh, but they are usually undeveloped and undetectable. Pione grapes are extremely fragrant and have a very sugary taste with a dominant flavor of grape jelly.
Pione grapes are available in late spring through fall.
Pione grapes, botanically classified as part of the Vitis species, grow on a deciduous vine and are a hybrid grape that is a part of the Vitaceae family. Pione grapes are a Japanese variety that was created in Okayama, which is the region with the largest grape production in Japan and is a cross between the kyoho grape and the cannon hall muscat grape. Also known as Black Pearl grapes, Pione grapes are the third most popular grape in Japan and are used as a table grape and to make rose wine.
Pione grapes contain vitamins B, K, and C, copper, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Pione grapes are best suited for raw consumption, and their skins are most often peeled and eaten fresh out of hand. In Japan, they are used in desserts like mochi, cakes, and tarts and are also used to make rose wine. They can be used as a garnish or topping on dishes such as eggplant sashimi or cheese platters, and pair well with salty, creamy cheeses. Pione grapes can also be dried and consumed as a raisin. Pione grapes pair well with blue cheese, honey, rosemary flatbread, leeks, and ham. They will keep up to a week when stored in a container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Like other specialty fruit in Japan, Pione grapes are considered to be a delicacy and can be found carefully packaged in soft Styrofoam netting to protect the fruit from potential damage and then set in a box that is decorated with tinsel or bows. Pione grapes are sold as a fruit that is appropriate to use in the Japanese tradition of gift-giving, where one presents luxury items, including food and fruit, to colleagues, business associates, and friends in a gesture meant to convey respect and courtesy.
Pione grapes were bred in Okayama, Japan, in 1957 by Japanese grape breeder Hideo Ikawa. In the 16th century, the Japanese focused on wine production and began to import many varieties of grapes from Europe and the United States and western-style viticulture began around the second half of the 1800s. Since then, the Japanese have created their own varieties of grapes bred for disease resistance, size, and sweetness. Pione grapes are exported to other countries around the Asia-Pacific region and are found at specialty markets in Japan, Singapore, and Australia.
Recipes that include Pione Grapes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Pip & Ebby||Easy Peanut Butter Honey Wraps with Grapes and Cinnamon|
|Olive and Mango||Roasted Grape Snack Cake|
|Jerje Kitchen||Grape Wraps|