Saturday, August 16, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: Cotton Candy Grapes and other produce-breeding requests

I was all set to show you some daily progress shots of my wheel spinning from this week, but after an exciting sampling experience at the grocery store, I'm switching up my inspiration.  Don't worry, I'll be spamming you with handspun fiber soon.

I vaguely remember hearing about Cotton Candy Grapes when they first came onto the scene, probably on NPR.  I was intrigued, but not desperate to try them for myself.  Cotton candy is a fun, if messy, treat that reminds me of county fairs and field days, but it's not a flavor that I seek out in other forms, because to me the airy texture tends to be what I like about it.  But still, when I spotted them at Central Market this afternoon as a sample offering, I wanted to give them a try.

Wow!  They really do evoke that cotton candy flavor.  I resisted the temptation to actually buy any (they're a bit pricy and I opted instead to invest in some pomegranates), but they were yummy, and I imagine they would be really good frozen, which is how I like to eat my grapes in summer.

So, if they can use traditional plant breeding techniques to evoke a flavor as specific and man-made as cotton candy, I have a few requests for possible research and development:

Ginger Apple: I'd love to bite into a crunchy apple and have the spiciness of ginger cut into its juicy sweetness.  I know most people tend to favor the sweeter apples, but I love the tangier Granny Smiths, so something like this would be right up my alley.

Caramel Pumpkin: There's still time before autumn for them to try and come up with one of these.  Can you imagine how amazing these would be?  Pumpkins, with their delicious and vitamin-filled flesh, could only be made more enticing with the addition of creamy, burnt sugar notes.  If the Cotton Candy Grape can use particular grape genes to evoke vanilla, I don't see why pumpkins couldn't also be endowed with this particular kind of sweetness.

Garlic Potato: Everyone already loves garlic and potatoes, right?  They roast garlic and add it to mashed potatoes for deliciousness that absolutely steals all of the spotlight from the poor, neglected meatloaf.  So what if you could get a potato that was already herbaceous and wonderful without any clove-smashing required?  I would still need to have heads of garlic on hand for all of the other things I add it to (almost everything savory), but I think it would be amazingly convenient to just be able to scrub a potato, prick it a few times, stick it in the microwave, and voila!  An instant baked potato made even better because it's already imbued with garlicky goodness.  Just add your butter of choice.

Cordial Cherry: Maybe this is just crazy talk, but I feel like it shouldn't be impossible to develop some kind of essential cocoa flavor.  And I think we've already strongly established our ability to toy with the sweetness to the point where it tastes like candy.  This year's cherry crop was so good, we were eating a bag a week for about a month.  If these were around, it could be dangerous.

Peanut Butter Banana: Now we're just entering a realm where I start naming flavor combinations that I love.  But really, again, why not?  Peanuts are a plant.  Not the same kind of plant as a banana at all as far as I know, but a plant nonetheless, and thus I think I should be able to peel a banana and enjoy a potassium-filled, peanutty treat.

Lavender Lemon: I'm not crazy enough to imagine picking up a lilac-colored citrus, but it would be cool to have a lemon that, like a Meyer lemon, was just a bit less tart, perhaps a little sweeter, and had a touch of lavender.  The clean taste of lemon goes really well with a little herbaceousness, and lavender would be a great way to mellow out the zing.  It would make a really nice lemon bar...

Mandarin Grapefruit: We're well past the trendy days of the grapefruit diet when people were eating them every day for breakfast, but I've been known to polish one off as a fruity dessert.  So I think it would be good for grapefruit to make a comeback with a clementine-like hybrid that would result in easy to peel, snackable citrus.  Still with the tanginess of grapefruit, perhaps a little more mellow for the mass market.

I'm going to stop myself now because I'm only making myself hungry and sad that I can't eat any of these fruits and veggies.  What about you?  Have you tried the Cotton Candy Grapes?  If you could breed your own favorite fruit or vegetable, what would it be?

(And don't forget, more inspiration at Woolen Diversions.)


  1. Oh my, when I asked for lotion bar scent inspiration, I should've just asked you! These are amazing combinations...

    1. Hehe, thanks, my mind is always thinking in terms of combining flavors!