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What is a Thompson Seedless Grape?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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A Thompson seedless grape is a variety that is pale green to yellow in color. This fruit has no seeds and tastes rather sweet. These grapes are not normally very large, and are usually fairly uniform in size.

These fruits usually grow in large bunches. The cluster is typically thicker towards the top of the bunch, near the grapevine. The bottom half of the cluster is normally about half the width of its top portion.

The grapes are thought to have originated in Turkey, South America, Iran, or Greece. While their exact origins are not certain, they are believed to have been brought to Europe and the United States from Turkey. Thompson seedless grape is the modern name given to this crop in honor of William Thompson, the first man to cultivate them in the U.S.

Today, this variety of grape is mainly grown in California, in the western United States. Due to this, the Thompson seedless grape is commonly found in supermarkets in the United States. The fruit may also be grown in Australia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, in addition to the countries where it originated.

One of the most common uses for the Thompson seedless grape is in making raisins. These are sometimes called sultanas or sultaninas. Raisins made from this variety of grape are usually sweeter than those made from purple or black grapes. They are often used for making breads, fruitcakes, trail mixes, or for simply eating out of hand.

Another use for this particular type of grape is for making jelly. The type made from these grapes is usually somewhat sweeter than traditional grape jelly. It has the same consistency as other grape jellies, however, and spreads easily as well.

Thompson seedless grapes are also commonly used for making grape juice. The fact that they contain no seeds is usually beneficial when juice-making, because no seeds have to be removed from the product during production. These grapes can make a delicious sparkling grape juice, which is commonly enjoyed near the holidays.

Wine is another way that Thompson seedless grapes are used. The wine from these grapes is normally very sweet and mild. It is also usually a little darker than most other white wines.

Gardeners who want a versatile grape that is easy to grow should consider a Thompson seedless grape. They are mostly hardy and disease-resistant, and should produce a crop within three to four years. Once the vines have begun producing fruit, there are several options for canning or preserving the grapes.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On May 31, 2014

@Pippinwhite -- Ever had frosted grape salad? You leave the grapes whole and mix with softened cream cheese, brown sugar and a little sour cream. Top with candied pecans or walnuts. So good!

This has become like the number one salad to bring to any kind of "ladies who lunch" function like a tea or reception. It's easy and goof-proof. Plus, it looks pretty, and everyone likes it, unless they don't like grapes.

I also like grapes in chicken salad. Gives it a fresh kick.

By Pippinwhite — On May 30, 2014

I love grapes and love to eat seedless grapes out of hand, right off the stem. I had a guinea pig who just loved them. I fed him quartered grapes and he would gobble them all day, if I'd let him.

The nice thing is all you have to do is rinse them off and put them in the fridge and they keep for the longest time. They don't require any preparation or anything. No peeling or seeding.

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