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For Find Out Friday - Are Cotton Candy Grapes a Product of Science or Nature?


Last night I went to a local fruit stand which also doubles as a mini grocery store. I make special trips to this store when I want extremely fresh produce and any international food products. They import some of the cheeses and meats that you’d be hard pressed to find in an “average” grocery store.

While I was loading up on many of the veggies I want to cook this coming week for #dinneralaDonna, I stumbled upon something I have seen and tried before; cotton candy grapes.

Normally I am strictly a red, seedless grape kind of girl but because cotton candy grapes are usually so hard to find, I instinctively grabbed a bag and threw them in my cart. 

From the outside these grapes do not have much appeal. They are green, almost grey and if I didn’t know any better would assume they were on their way out. But the ones I picked were still very firm and I am familiar with the appearance of this strain of grape. 

First things first: yes, they really do taste exactly like cotton candy. 

They are sweeter than normally grapes, especially the green kind since those typically have more of a tartness about them. 

Second; Are these even grapes?

I mean, how do these seemingly normal grapes taste exactly like the cotton candy we all picture - pink and blue swirls of stickiness - that is so fun to eat. 

I wondered: Are cotton candy grapes a result of scientific ingenuity or nature?

The answer is unequivocally yes.

Yes, they are a productive of both science and nature. 

Well, how can that be, you ask? I will tell you.

Two men from California, Jack Pandol and Jim Beagle, are behind this creation. They are also the owners of “Grapery” - the agriculture business that produces, amongst other varieties, cotton candy grapes. 

These grapes are the result of a cross bread of two different kinds of grapes and are NOT genetically modified. The sweet flavor results in a slighter higher level of nature sugar in these grapes but of course it is much less than what you’ll find in actual cotton candy. Typically they are mostly found in August and September but I have seen them around on and off all year. When I was in Phoenix, Arizona in December I saw them on sale as well.

This next piece of information I am going to share has nothing to do with grapes, it has to do with the creation of cotton candy itself. It was created by a dentist! Bananas, I know.

The dentist, William Morrison, worked with candy maker John Wharton and together they created cotton candy then called “fairy floss” in 1897. It had its debut in 1908 at the World’s Fair in London, England, and was sold for only twenty-five cents.

Now that there are folks out there doing this very important work of making healthy foods taste like those we crave, I look forward to the day my broccoli tastes like pizza. 

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