Quick Answer: What Are Sea Grapes?
Sea grapes come from a bush along the shores of bays, rivers, and the Ocean and bear grape-like fruit yearly. Unfortunately, they are protected in Florida, and you must grow your own if you wish to enjoy this delicious tropical fruit.
However, the sea grapes of the ocean grow in the warm shallows of bays, rivers, and coastlines. Therefore, they can be harvested by diving for them.
Are Tropic Sea Grapes Nutritious?
There are two types of sea grape. One lives on land and produces tasty grape-like fruit. However, they only grow in the tropics and yield fruit yearly.
The other sea grape is a gem of the ocean and grows in the shallow waters of bays, rivers, and estuaries. This type of sea grape is a form of seaweed and is very nutritious.
Seagrapes Can Grow In The Ocean — Or A Bush.
I have known the Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) my entire life. However, I did not realize there was more than one kind. The sea grapes I am accustomed to seeing look like a giant, broad-leaf bush or low-growing tree.
The sea grape tastes a little like a muscadine and is about the same size. They have pulp like a grape and are sweet when they are ripe and when the fruit turns green to red or purple.
Seagrapes have one seed, and you can propagate the seed. However, buy your seed somewhere instead of grabbing one from the beach. It will be much less expensive than paying a fine.
From The Ocean Comes Another Type Of Seagrape
The second variety of Seagrape (Caulerpa Umibudo) is not a plant but sea-borne algae, aka seaweed. Therefore, it has the nickname ‘green caviar’ because that is what this variety of Seagrape most resembles when removed from its stems.
Gorgeous and as shiny as a polished gem, Seagrape is often added to Asian recipes. However, they offer popping little globes of green that taste salty.
The way waterborne seagrapes hang from their stems, they look like grapes. However, the appearance belies the flavor of the aquatically growing Seagrape.
Do these seagrapes taste like muscadines? No, as with most foods we eat from the sea, they have a salty, iodine, mineral flavor.
However, it seems as much the satisfying crunch they offer when eaten as a snack as the taste draws people to this interesting plant.
Sea Grapes – From The Land Plant
The Seagrape bush isn’t anything special to look at. They have hand-sized leaves that look somewhat like a large grape leaf, but not exactly.
A mature plant doesn’t look like a grapevine, either. Unlike other grapes, the Seagrape isn’t a vine, but a bush, when kept trimmed. However, a sea grape plant can grow up to about 30 feet in height if you let it sprawl.
The leaves of the Seagrape resemble Magnolia or Banyan leaves. They are thick and leathery when they dry and can be a bit of a nuisance. Keep that in mind if you plant seagrapes in your yard.
Also, when planting large shrubbery and trees, locate them away from underground sewer and water lines. Their roots may not interfere with anything underground when they are in you, but as they grow, their roots reach out and can cause damage to your yard.
Where Can I Grow Seagrape?
Seagrapes will only grow in USDA zones 10A – 11. However, there are reports that seagrapes have been found living outside zone 9A.
That’s central Florida, and they often have frost and freeze in the winter, and the cold will kill the plant. Seagrapes do not like colder climes and will not grow there.
However, if you have room to grow one undercover and keep it protected, you may be able to grow yours indoors.
The Seagrape plant is often used in warmer climes for windbreaks, privacy, and erosion control. Like any other grape, the Seagrape can be eaten straight from the bush or made into marmalade.
Sea Grapes Are Protected By Law In Florida.
Tempting to pluck from the bush when ripe, the Seagrape is protected by law in Florida. Seagrape plants cannot be removed or even touched if they bear fruit.
What does this mean for you? If you want to try making Seagrape wine, marmalade, or as a snack, you will need to cultivate one or two Seagrape plants in your yard.
Seagrape grows wild along the water’s edge and the dunes. Therefore, they help prevent the beach from sliding back into the sea. Like the Mangrove, however, they are a protected plant in Florida. I reiterate this because law enforcement takes it very seriously.
Even trimming them may require a specialist to ensure they are not damaged or killed. However, planting seagrape in your yard can allow you to enjoy one of Florida’s natural bounties.
When sea grapes are planted in your yard, you are free to do with them what you will. However, unless you live along the shore where they grow, you may need a permit to prune or take the fruit.
Sea Grapes – From The Ocean
There are two ways to get sea grapes; from the briny deep, or you can grow them. Unless you live near a bay, or other body of water where they grow naturally, an aquarium will be your only option.
Or, you can buy them, and unlike the sea grape plant, sea grapes from the ocean are not protected, grow prolifically, and are nutrient-rich.
The natural habitat of the Seagrapes (Caulerpa Umibudo) is shallow warm waters, bays, and estuaries. If you are fortunate enough to live where sea grapes grow naturally, you will have a readily available place to harvest these little delicacies.
The second option will give you readily available food without waiting for blooms to be pollinated and fruit to grow.
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Sea Grapes Taste Good — Are They Safe To Eat?
Both types of Seagrape are safe to eat, and the Seagrape (Caulerpa Umibudo) of the Ocean is. Incredibly healthy food. However, if you want to raise them as a food source, you will get a faster yield from those you grow in an aquarium.
Seagrapes are grown commercially in Vietnam and other parts of Asia. They are sold fresh and dehydrated. Umibudo Seagrapes are convenient, easy to use, and very nutritious.
It takes several years for a Seagrape plant to become old enough to bear fruit. Once it does, however, you can expect grapes in the Fall.
This is because the female plants bloom in the spring and pollinate if you have a male tree nearby. So time works out for a fall crop of delicious fruit.
Although both plants are nutritious, only one is commercially available: Umibudo Seagrapes.
What Texture Does Seagrape Have?
The plant has fruit that is very similar in taste and texture to grapes. Depending on their ripeness, they can be a bit sour or very sweet.
Sea grapes are dark red to purple when they are the ripest and delicious straight from the tree. However, you may want to peel them because the peeling is thick and rigid and adds nothing to the flavor.
Green caviar and sea grapes are very small and pop in your mouth when you bite them. Nevertheless, they are used in some Asian recipes, and many people enjoy them fresh or dried as a snack.
Sea grapes from the ocean can be dehydrated, stored, and rehydrated for use. They are also easily dehydrated if you prefer your sea grapes like that. Seagrapes can also be stored in brine water.
Where Does Seagrape Come From?
The sea grape plant (Coccoloba uvifera) is native to the Southern states, Caribbean islands, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. This is the only place they are found, and the warm temperatures of this area suit their needs.
Is Seagrape A Healthy Food?
Sea grapes (Coccoloba Uvifera) from trees are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as beta carotene. In addition, the habitats of the land where this attractive plant grows prolifically attribute many healing qualities to this tropical fruit.
Finding a complete breakdown of the nutritional benefits of the Seagrape is difficult. It is not widely grown or cultivated on a large scale like the typical grape.
Therefore, test results for the nutritional value of sea grapes are thin.
Seagrapes From Seaweed
On the other hand, the nutritional value of sea grapes (Caulerpa umibudo), the seaweed variety, is well documented. These little green gems of the ocean are nutrient-packed.
Sea grapes contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B9, B12, C, D, E, and K. They also contain essential minerals that include calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, manganese, selenium, potassium, fluoride, zinc, and copper.
These tiny orbs contain essential amino acids, polyphenols, and dietary fiber. Seaweed Seagrapes are nutritional powerhouses.
However, the one drawback is that they are very high in sodium. So, if you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you must check the product’s nutritional value. Then you can decide if it is safe for you to eat.
How Do You Eat Seagrapes?
Sea grapes from the shore can be eaten fresh from the bush or made into marmalade or jelly. They can also be juiced in your juicer for a refreshing beverage.
Sea grapes of the sea are often eaten as a snack, fresh or dehydrated. People seem to like the pop of the grapes as they eat them, which are very nutritious.
How Can I Store Seagrape’s
Fresh seagrapes are like regular grapes in storage and can be refrigerated for several days.
Don’t freeze them; the result will be a chewy raisin mush.
Can You Freeze Seagrape’s?
No, and there is no need to. If they are the land variety, they can be made into jelly. They can be dehydrated if there are a variety of seagrapes from the ocean.
How Can I Tell If Seagrapes Are Bad?
Seagrapes of the land, the most like grapes of these two, will get soft and moldy. They will also begin to take on a vinegar or winey odor if they go very far into the fermentation phase.
Seagrapes of the sea will get white as they age but can be revived by running them underwater. (Umibudo) is truly a perfect food.
Sea Grapes That Live On Land Vs. Ocean Bound Sea Grapes
One is a plant that grows on the shore, and the other is a form of seaweed. Both are viable food sources; however, ‘green caviar’ is a superfood with nutrition.
There are recipes for salads and other dishes made for Seagrape (lato), which is seaweed. However, finding more than a jelly recipe of Seagrapes that grow ashore is problematic because it is not an everyday food, and it is limited from becoming one except in specific locations of the world.
You can buy Seagrapes (lato) dehydrated and, if you are lucky, in a market in areas where it is sold fresh. Seagrapes (lato) are grown on farms in some parts of the world.
However, Seagrapes, the bush, are not propagated as a commercial food source anywhere. Furthermore, with only one harvest a year, fruit that ripens over a period, instead of all at once, limits their commercial crop use.
Quick Table: Recipes Made With Sea Grapes
|Recipe||Calories Per Serving||Total Preparation Time|
|Sea Grape Jelly||67||60 min|
|A Seaweed Called Lato — AKA Lato Salad||45||16 min|
|Seared Barramundi with Sea Grapes||140||35 min|
1. Sea Grape Jelly
Seagrapes weren’t always prohibited from being harvested in the wilds of Florida. The only recipe I could dig up, however, was for jelly. Marmalade or jelly is the most natural thing to do with a batch of grapes you want to preserve.
Or, you can always make Seagrape wine.
Other than these two ideas for using Seagrapes in recipes, the other way to enjoy ripe Seagrapes fresh as a snack. Or you can toss them in a fresh salad for an extra pop of sweetness and flavor.
Calories Per Serving: 67
Total Preparation Time: 60 min
2. A Seaweed Called Lato — AKA Lato Salad
Seagrapes have found a home in many cultures, and the Filipinos have created a salad that centers around these shiny, tiny green orbs from the sea.
Lato, a salad recipe from the Philippines, is a simple dish that centers around the main ingredient, Seagrapes. This is a light, simple salad composed of fresh seagrape, tomato, onion, vinegar, and a little salt or sugar to taste. It pairs well with fish dishes and can be worked into other recipes.
Seagrapes can be purchased dehydrated, in brine, or fresh if you are lucky.
Calories Per Serving: 45
Total Preparation Time: 16
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3. Seared Barramundi With Sea Grapes
This dish is full of bright, fresh flavors that are meant to be enjoyed together. It is made with a light and crispy white wine and citrus vinaigrette, wild sea grapes, a sweet pea and cilantro pesto, and fresh-cut cucumber.
This recipe is a perfect example of a seafood dish that can be prepared using the same techniques used for preparing fish.
The seared fish is complemented with the juicy sweet and sour taste of the sea grapes.
Seared Barramundi with Sea Grapes is a light and healthy recipe that is perfect for any occasion.
Calories Per Serving: 140
Total Preparation Time: 35
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Does Seagrape Grow On Land?
They grow along the beaches and dunes of Florida, Caribbean areas, and Mexico’s certain shores.
Where Does Seagrape Grow In The Sea?
Seagrapes grow in the tidal drift of tropical waters, where they can feed and live in the sunshine.
How Are Seagrapes Rehydrated?
Dehydrated seagrapes only need a few minutes in water to rehydrate and should look as good as they did the day they were plucked from the ocean.
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