Wolf Grapes are a species of deciduous shrubs which bear purplish-red, grape-sized berries at various points of the year. The berries are edible and have a tart and slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of goji berries mixed with elderberries. There are two main varieties of wolf grape: the bunch-bearing wolf grape and the vine-bearing wolf grape. The difference is largely in the number and size of berries produced. There is not a noticeable difference in flavor.
Fertile Soil and Some Seeds
Wolf grapes grow best in soil with moderate amounts of clay. They prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH level of around 6.2. Wolf grapes thrive in environments that provide at least a solid six hours of ultraviolet and visible light in a twenty-four hour period, although they can tolerate several days with no light at all, such as when there is one of Pardisa's mega-storms in the area. The pale pink flowers of the bush appear in both early spring and late summer, with the berries produced ripening in mid summer and early winter. Ultraviolet light is essential for the ripening of the berries, and the berries will rot without ever ripening if no ultraviolet light is provided. The seeds are oblong and flat in shape.
Wolf grapes are often consumed as a dried fruit snack in Eden III and Paradisum. However, the trend has not taken off in the smaller cities, mostly due to their tartness which is considered unfavorable. These berries are extremely healthy due to their high amounts of nutrients which are essential to human life. Bunch-bearing wolf grapes have proven to be more popular for cooking, but the vine-bearing variety is more popular for use as a dried or fresh snack.
Some dishes wolf grapes are commonly used in are, in no particular order: tarts, pies, jams, jellies, and preserves.
The fermentation process undertaken by wolf grapes make them largely unsuitable for alcohol production. The berries take on an extremely bitter flavor when fermented. This, when combined with the lengthy fermentation period to even produce alcohols, makes wolf grape-derived wines a rarity. They are sometimes produced for usage by high-end chefs in their cooking, although the wine has been said to impart no flavor to the final dishes of these chefs.
A Legend of the Pack
Even though wolves are no longer present in active memory, wolf grapes carry the tale of the fearsome predators who hunt in packs. Legend tells that these creatures gave rise to the wolf grape long ago by cross-breeding two types of berries. The wolves are said to have some level of sapience in these stories. A common antagonist in these tales is the bear, which eats all of the wolves' crops. These stories always end happily, with the wolf grapes turning out even larger than before.