The vineyard crop was an art coming from the Minoans since the First Minoan Years. About 4.000 years before, the grape was a necessary fruit in the diet of the Minoans during the summer, in the grape harvest feast.
Apart from the use of the grapes in the wine production, all the grapes are edible. They are rich in vitamins, glucose and antioxidants. There is resveratrol in its peel that, according to recent studies, helps against cancer and the prevention of heart diseases.
As the time went by, the grapes were divided into edible and wine-making due to their taste, their texture (in the mouth) and the differences in their ingredients.
So the traditional edible grape varieties in Crete are:
Komitato: a very old variety in Crete with gristle and full grape. It is referred as a Minoan variety that is not only delicious but also produces a fine wine.
Tachtas: smelling gristle grape with a lot of juice. It is also an old variety very related to the local weather conditions and used complementarily in the past in the wine-making.
Razaki: a late variety with pips, a lot of juice, smelling, gristle and delicious peel. It was cultivated in large areas in Crete for decades and dominated in the local and international market as the king of the edible grapes.
Soultanina: it was established in Crete after 1867 and came from the Greeks of Smyrna that moved in Crete. It is a semi-early variety without pips, average and gristle grape, full of glucose and that is why it is also used in the famous Cretan raisin production. It can be made as a spoon sweet as it does not have pips. The vine leaves of that variety can be used also in cooking (“ntolmadakia”= vine leaves stuffed with rice) as the leaves are thin, gentle and smelling.
The products- by-products of grapes range according the period of the year and their use.
Raisin is the most famous as it is consumed in all over the world and produced in various continents. It is rich in energy and consumed mainly in the winter.
Petimezi or the honey of the poor people is the grape juice produced through boiling. It has an exceptional color, taste and is rich in glucose and fructose. It is used in cooking, pastry and food.
Agourida: It is a juice made by unripe grapes that is sour and has been used in cooking as a lemon substitute. It is widely used by bartenders in cocktails.