Grape is the generic name given to the berry of a grape vine plant. There are several species that make up the genus Vitis (family Vitaceae), including varieties that are eaten as fruit, dried to produce raisins, currants and sultanas, or crushed to make juice and wine. The most common type of grape (Vitis vinifera), is one of the oldest cultivated plants and some of the earliest records of its consumption exist in Egypt, dated around 4000 BC.
One of the most praised health foods, grapes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, containing magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C and several of the vitamin B group. Grapes are a natural source of malic acid, an important alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) ingredient in cosmetics. Malic acid is a colourless, crystalline compound used as flavouring in foods, such as sour tasting confectionery and in the ageing of wine. We use dried currants as mild exfoliants, they are soft and nutritious on the skin – they also make a lovely decoration. These small grapes are mainly grown in Europe; they are usually dried on the vine but can be removed from the vine.