Why Cotton Candy Grapes Make People Lose Their Minds Every Year

Cotton candy grapes might sound like something Willy Wonka would churn out if he tried to get into the health food racket, but they are very real indeed, and year after year the masses lose their collective mind when these grapes land in stores. What is it about this fruit that makes people flip?

Despite their name, cotton candy grapes aren't pink and look just like regular ol' green grapes. But when it comes to taste, they're on a whole other level. "When it pops in your mouth, the first impression is a rush of cotton candy flavor. The green grapes don't look or smell like cotton candy, but they will remind you of a circus," food blogger and personal chef Spencer Gray told NPR.

Besides their similarity in taste to cotton candy, which is enough to make anyone fall in love, the grapes are very popular with people for a couple of reasons. For starters, they're only available during the summer months. That's right, just like beach trips, iced coffee, and music festivals, summer is the season of cotton candy grapes, so you had better enjoy them while they last. While more than one brand of cotton candy grapes exists these days, the Grapery was the first to launch the fruity treat in 2011, and they list the fruit as being available from August 10 to September 20. Just like any product that's a hit in the market, though, it didn't take long for other businesses to jump on the bandwagon. Cooking Light reported on Sam's Club having them in stock the first week of June, while Trader Joe's had them suspiciously early in March (via Delish).

Considering that cotton candy grapes get their spun sugar taste not through artificial flavoring but clever plant breeding, it's understandable that some years may yield a harvest earlier or longer than others. Still, summer seems to be the best bet for snagging these special grapes. 

It's not just the limited availability that has everyone looking to gobble up as many cotton candy grapes as possible, either. People also love them because they offer a flavorful reminder of the popular fluffy pink junk food without the gobs of sugar. While NPR reports that they do have about 12 percent more sugar than normal grapes, it's still a lot less sugar than raisins, and obviously way less than any bag of cotton candy you'd find at the circus. 

Now if only science could give us lima beans that taste like caramel, we'd be golden.