Have you ever come across something in the produce aisle that made you stop dead in your tracks and do a double-take? If you spotted the Witch Finger grapes, it’s a good chance they would be something you’d need to get a closer look at. Witch finger grapes are uniquely shaped and not exactly what comes to mind when you think of the typical fruit.
When you think of grapes, you most likely think of a purplish red or green round fruit with a delicious juicy center whereas the Witch Finger doesn’t fit that description. Keep reading to see where these strange-looking grapes come from and why you are going to want to give them a try.
History of the Witch Finger Grapes
The Grapery is a California-based grape breeder who partnered with the International Fruit Genetics in 2002. Since then, the Grapery has bred and produced many varieties of grapes (such as the Gum Drop grapes). The main focus of this partnership is to focus on hybridization using selective breeding.
After some time, they developed a longer oval-shaped grape with thin skin and sweet flesh, which they named the Chili Pepper grape because of its unique shape. Unfortunately, this name didn’t sell well with consumers as many thought the grapes might have a spicy flavor, so many passed up the opportunity to try these new grapes.
The Grapery decided to rebrand the grape Witch Finger in 2011, they thought this would be a more accepted branding. Once again, in 2016, the Grapery again decided to rebrand the Witch Finger grapes to Tear Drops. The reason being is they felt some consumers were put off by the fruit being named after a body part. For a while, the Grapery had exclusive growing and selling rights for the Witch Finger Grapes, but in recent years they decided to sell the seeds to allow home gardeners to grow these interesting grapes in their gardens.
Chili Pepper, Witch Finger, Tear Drops, whatever you want to call these fascinating grapes, they all have the same characteristics. They have an extended elongated shape that resembles the look of a chili pepper hanging off of a vine. The skins are thin with a dark purple hue and translucent flesh. These grapes are seedless and were specifically bred to be the perfect table grapes, so great for grabbing a few for snacking. They grow in looser bunches on their vines and are harvestable anywhere between June to August but seem to find their way into our grocery stores at the end of summer.
Witch Finger grapes have a sweet flavor with a very little tartness from the tannins found within the skins. The sweetness is because this variety has to fully mature on the vine before being harvested. These grapes have a slight snap when you bite into them, and some have noted it is similar to biting into a fresh plum.
Witch Finger grapes were bred to be table grapes. So this means they are not meant to be used in any cooking applications. These grapes are fantastic additions to charcuterie boards and go well with many different kinds of cheese and dried meats.
Think of anything fresh when thinking of different recipes to use With Finger grapes. With Fingers would work amazingly well with:
You can also serve these grapes as a healthy dessert option since they are low in calories but offer a sweet bite.
No matter the variety, grapes offer significant benefits to our health, from boosting our immune systems, aiding in digestive health, and reducing other health risks grapes are known for being a go-to healthy snack. Read our article for a deeper dive if you want to learn more about these health benefits.
Even though we love to enjoy the amazing benefits of these fruits, remember, our furry family members do not. Grapes and raisins of all varieties are incredibly toxic to pets and should never be handed out as treats. For more information, click on the links to read our blog posts on the dangers grapes pose to cats and to dogs.
Growing Witch Finger Grapes
Unfortunately, you probably won’t see these seeds available at your local garden centers because they are considered a designer breed. Still, online retailers have made it possible for you to grow Witch Finger grapes at home.
Grape Growing Basics
The first thing you are going to need is a trellis or some sort of support structure for your Witch Fingers to grab ahold of as they grow.
Once you have your structure, place it in an area that gets a lot of sunlight during the day.
When your support is in a sunny spot, it is time to address the soil. Grapes need slightly acidic soil to thrive anywhere from 5.0 – 6.0 and try your best to maintain this pH while the grapes are growing.
Plant grapes 8 feet apart from any other variety or plant. These grapes do not need any type of pollinating help, mother nature can do that for you.
Make sure to water the grapes when the weather is dry, but they do become incredibly drought resistant once they are established.
About a week after planting, you can fertilize your grapes with a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer or organic compost.
Pruning is vital to maintaining healthy grapevines, and this does take a bit of time to master. Witch Finger grapes are known for their delicate nature, and if messed with too much, the grapes do fall from the vines.
Now that we have a bit of the basics of growing covered read our complete guide on how to grow grapes if you’re interested in diving into planting some of your own grapes.
Purchasing Witch Finger Grapes
Cuttings and Seeds
Online retailers have made the Witch Finger grapes available for sale in the form of cuttings and seeds. Be mindful that many of these retailers are selling what they call “finger grapes,” which is the Witch Finger grape in disguise. They are not the easiest to locate, but with some detailed searching, you may be able to grab some cuttings or seeds. A lot of these sellers can be found on eBay where they can sell you cuttings of their personal plants.
You won’t find grapes listed as Witch Fingers in stores. Instead, you can find them by their new name, Tear Drops. These typically can be found at your local grocery stores in late August to mid-September, but they come in limited, so if you ever see them, we suggest you act fast and purchase some of these deliciously sweet grapes.
Wrapping Up The Witch Finger Grape
After a bit of an identity crisis, the Witch Finger grape, now known as the Tear Drops grape, is a slightly strange-looking grape, but that doesn’t take away from the delicious sweet flavor it offers. Available in late summer to early fall, you can find these grapes at your local grocery store with their long funny looking shape. When you do see them, we urge you to give them a try.
Excited for more grape content? Next, check out my grape vine page for more growing tips, care guides, recipes, and more!