Things you should know about: the grapple (as in grape + apple). It’s pronounced like “gray-pole,” and was created in Wenatchee Valley, WA. It looks like an apple and it tastes like a grape. Pretty bizarre, right?
In the video above, Munchies contributor Adam Leith Gollner tries to shed some light on the mysterious fruit, which he first stumbled across while conducting research for his book The Fruit Hunters, which explores stories about unusual or interesting fruits.
According to Snyder Bros, the inventors of Grapple, the fruit is made by taking Fuji apples and dunking them in a bath of concord grape flavor. The artificial grape flavor, called Methyl Anthranilate, is USDA and FDA approved. When not used to make grapples, it is usually found in chewing gum and Kool aid.
Methyl Anthranilate also makes a good bird repellent. Farmers spray the fragrance to keep birds away from apples or cherries.
In The Fruit Hunters, Gollner writes,
Bird Shield also comes with an EPA number, which means it is classified as a pesticide.
Gollner then talks to patent attorney Jeffrey Aldridge, who says that the making of grapple entails dipping an apple (preferably Fuji or Gala) in the admixture, which permeates the fruit through the skin. The concentration of Methyl Anthranilate ranges from 1% to 4%.
However, although Methyl Anthranilate is classified as an additive, it is not more dangerous than sugar, salt, and partially hydrogenated oil—products all classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).
This investigative documentary is not all anxiety-inducing scientific speculation. To keep things light, Gollner also distributes samples of grapples to random people—including restaurateurs, sommeliers, and hippies. The most notable reactions:
“It smells like grape soda”
“It’s like going on a date with your grandma”
“Ew, I am sorry”
“It reminds me of the toothpaste that you get to use when you’re really little so you brush your teeth”
“it’s a fake”
But the absolute best reaction comes from a middle-aged hippie, who proudly declares:
“I don’t eat apples but I open a hole and use it as a bowl to smoke pot. After you smoke from the apple, you get the munchies and you eat it.”