Have you ever noticed when you go to the supermarkets and purchase grapes that there is a thin powdery white layer covering the grape berries? This white coating that you see on the grapes is called bloom.
Bloom has nothing to do with the blooming of flowers. It is in fact a natural substance also known as oleanolic acid, produced by the fruit which serves as a protective layer or coating for the grape berries. The bloom prevents the loss of moisture and decay. It also builds a barrier against insects and bacteria, which helps to seal in the fruit’s moisture.
There are also other commodities where you will see bloom such as plums, blueberries, apples, and many other fruits.
Photos: Lucentlands Media
Many people might think that it is an artificial coating, but it is not. Bloom is comprised mostly of a natural waxy layer produced by the plant. Grapevines produce wax while the grapes are growing, which helps to reduce the loss of moisture. This helps to keep the grape firm and to prevent it from withering away.
As this waxy layer is slightly sticky, it also attracts and traps dust particles. It is therefore clear that this white layer we see is a protective layer produced by the grapes, but it is important that you as the consumer remember to rinse the grapes with running water to minimize the exposure to any potential contaminants.
So, the next time you purchase delicious and beautiful quality South African grapes, you will have a better understanding about the bloom on the berries.
Article by Jacques Burger