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Muscadines


ditsydine
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bought some muscadine grapes today at the farmer's market in Raleigh. I have only eaten them once, I forgot that they were definitely one of of those food items that you have had to grow up on...the part that is most delicious is a slimy, yet chewy texture with the biggest seeds out of any grape.

Anyway, one of my guests who grew up eating muscadine and scuppernongs said she never ate the skin, just the gelatinous innards and spit the seeds out. Whereas I at ethe skin and the insides, but not the seeds. All that said I am curious as to if I should not be eating the skins for a reason. Is there a common tradition to these native grapes?

Edited by ditsydine (log)

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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article here on muscadines

Muscadines contain an organic chemical compound named resveratrol. Studies show resveratrol helps lower cholesterol and may be why the French can eat a lot of butter and cheese and suffer less heart disease.

I love them and eat them skins and all .. removing the seeds as I go ... thanks for reminding me of one of living in the South's sweetest memories ...

distinguishing factors of muscadines include extremely tough skin and a pronounced aroma. People who eat muscadines talk of sucking the juice and spitting out the thick, tough skin as 'hulls.' And while people used to standard grocery store grapes might have to work to get used to eating muscadines, they wouldn't have any trouble getting used to the juice. Though the skin of muscadines is tough, it's not harsh or astringent, having a mild, apple-like flavor much of the time. As a result, the flavors it adds to the juice make a really nice, light, fruity grape juice.
article here

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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My Grandmother has Muscadine and Scuppernong vines that are almost 70 years old now. I grew up eating them and watching my Grandmother chase the raccoons and possums out of the vines. I guess the little guys know a good thing when they find it.

So in our family, no skins. You squish the inside out into your mouth, squeeze out the last bit of juice and then toss the skin. Some of us (who are lazy) swallow the whole thing sort of like an oyster, while others (like my Mom), spit out the seeds. Best enjoyed warm from the sun, just off the vine. :wub:

I've never actually bought them in the store, but the other day I was in the Super H and I smelled that distinctive bouquet. I wound my way through the produce section until I found heaps of them in a display. They looked underripe to me, so I didn't buy any, although the scent made me very tempted!

-Linda

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thanks ladies-

i am sitting here eating some right now. You know as I eat them I realize that they taste much closer to wine than the regular grapes I would normally buy at the supermarket.

I'd never had the pleasure of trying a Muscadine/Scuppernong before I came down to Raleigh in September for Varmint's 2nd Pig Pickin'. I saw (and smelled) them at the Raleigh Farmer's Market for the very first time and inquired with the produce vendor as to what they were about. They invited me to taste one and I did. Interesting flavor and texture. I ate the skin and spit out the seeds, not knowing any better, but I found the skin to be rather tough and unappealing. The insides were mighty tasty though, if a bit slimy. That wine-like flavor reminded me of how Concord grapes taste like bad kosher wine. :laugh:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Somewhere around here on eGullet I've described scuppernong/muscadine eating strategy step-by-step. I'll link to it it when I find it.

I generally don't eat the seeds (very bitter) or skin (bitter and tough), preferring the inside flesh as well as the very sweet flesh that clings to the skin. If the grape is very ripe (feels loose on the grape, generally more bronze color, stronger smelling grape) the skin will have lost much of its bitterness as well as tough texture, and I may eat it.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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The skin of a good ripe musky-dine will pop right off when you squeeze it between tongue and palate---that's the removal method the Good Lord intended. And skins are good for you, all those vitamins stored up for weeks as they basked in the Summer sun. And they make a satisfying "critch, critch" sound when you chew them.

We used to have a friend, an older woman who owned a good-sized plantation in the Mississippi Delta. She would entertain with lavish luncheons in her home or out on the shady grounds amongst the magnolias and weeping willows. She always served the same menu: Rosy thick slices of pale pink ham, gleaming with an edge of glistening white fat; Eggplant casserole, a smoky, mideastern-flavored concoction with onions and another whole ham or two ground into the roasted-dark smush of eggplant; Fat green sticks of fresh asparagus with a then-unknown-to-me beurre blanc with minced sour pickles; Perfectly-matched rounds of thick tomato slices, great spirals of them, on cut-glass platters flanked by tall clear compotes of vinaigrette and homemade yellow-egg mayonnaise; Golden rolls already sliced open in the kitchen, a big gob of fresh butter slid in to melt while the bread was too hot to handle. Forty-weight iced tea in heavy frosted goblets with a ring of lemon perched ladylike sidesaddle; a rank of glasses for the several wines offered during the meal; hot and scalding and perfect boiled-pan coffee poured from an immense silver samovar into cups the thickness of an eggshell and stirred with dainty spoons befitting fairy tea.

And muscadine cobbler. Though there was a dessert table loaded with ethereal angel cakes on their tall stands, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, and the first and best trifle I ever tasted, a marvel of colors and layers in the transparent footed bowl, the standout dish in Summer was muscadine cobbler. She had rolled the grapes through a chinois to extract the pulp and juice for making jelly, then froze the hulls in little pint tupperware freezer boxes, to mount up over the season into a couple of gallons of sticky, limp, rust-colored deflated balloons.

She put the frozen blocks into an enormous stockpot with a couple of bottles of muscat wine, usually from a now-defunct local vineyard we nicknamed the Redneck Rothschilds. The mixture simmered slowly into a seething mass of sugar and grape and flavor concentration unrivaled in cobblerdom. She used the cooking time to make and chill a "REAL shaw-wat crust" featuring several pounds of butter, and plain flour. The grape mixture was poured into long pyrex dishes, topped with a fancy-cut lattice, cream-brushed and sugar-scattered, with little globs of butter between all the frames.

When those fragrant pans emerged from the oven just before lunch was served, the entire company followed their noses to the kitchen door for just a peek before we sat down to lunch. Lots of laughing and talking, with keen eyes on the swinging doors toward the kitchen. Big appetites and great draughts of the beverages as the crowd of men consumed their meals; ladies were a bit more delicate in their munching, but in time there came the muscadine cobbler.

Huge silver spoons scooped great servings of still-warm pie into wide flat soup bowls; an already-scooped ball of vanilla ice cream was lifted from the great mound of them arranged in a big silver punchbowl, and the lovely fragrance was set down before us.

Never before or since have I tasted that particular combination, though we had muscadine and scuppernong arbors on our own lawn. The rusty-brown fruit met their own nirvana in that bowl of warm grapeness, that Summer-in-a-mouthful under the tendrils of melting vanilla.

And that's how they eat muscadines where I come from.

Edited by racheld (log)
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  • 3 months later...

I unearthed two bags of frozen muscadines in the after-holidays cleanout of all food storage places. They were round little rusty marbles, rattling into the pan. I cooked them off and ran them through the chinois for enough juice to yield six little jewelly jars of golden-clear jelly. Its truly musky sweetness is the perfect topping for a big old cathead biscuit, halved and covered with a clump of butter, to melt and puddle and run down the sides onto the plate.

And I carefully re-froze a nice freezer-box of the little still-plump skins, awaiting a trip to find a bottle of muscat wine. Some cold night before Spring, everyone will come into the warm house to the aroma of crisping crust and browning sugar and the soft smell of hot, ripe, sweet muscadines, bubbling under their golden lattice, bringing the flavor of Summer to a snowy night.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 9 years later...

I'm reviving this delightful thread because I found the rare muscadine today. I only bought a pound and a half, but now I am determined to go back tomorrow after eating some, and get all I can carry. I read that you can freeze them and enjoy delicious treats in the hot summers we have here. That is my plan if I have any left after just eating them in their fresh glory, and possibly trying racheld's muscadine pie from her enchanting tale of lavish luncheons under the magnolias on the lawn of a Mississippi Delta plantation. The ones I just ate were dribble-down-your-chin juicy, glorious, and very fresh. They are dark purple, almost black, and average about 1" diameter, but some approach 1-1/2".

 

I found them at S-Mart, my local Korean-owned, pan-Asian grocery. I was so grateful to find them, but I considered it a very unlikely source for a lovely fruit that is very rarely found outside of the Southeast US. That is until I read lperry's post about finding them at her Super H, which I'm assuming is another Asian market because of the operators' penchant to name their stores with a single letter here. Apparently, Asian's know a very good thing, even when it's not native to their country. Who knew? Usually, you must grow your own or know someone with the vines to get muscadine or scuppernong. Muscadines are much sweeter and not as acidic as scuppernong.

 

I definitely like the skins, and wouldn't dream of discarding them. I pick out the seeds, though. I am so happy to have found these today! I also picked up a Korean melon, a fruit I've never tried before, so I really made out like a bandit today.  :smile:

 

Google muscadine images: https://www.google.com/search?q=muscadine+images&espv=2&biw=1097&bih=546&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDIQ7AlqFQoTCMqOoPPm6ccCFcXVgAodfM8PNg

 

Google Korean melon images: https://www.google.com/search?q=korean+melon+images&espv=2&biw=1097&bih=546&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDIQ7AlqFQoTCLmE7-bm6ccCFYaZgAod4awGuQ

Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Fresh baked and buttered biscuits loaded with muscadine jelly just might qualify as a last meal for me... throw a couple good sausage patties and some grits on the side and I know it would.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I had a thought occur to me today while enjoying more muscadines, and I recalled where I had read "somewhere" that the grape flavoring in candies, sodas, and so on doesn't taste like our modern mainstream grapes, because that flavor is based on older varieties that are very rarely or just not at all available. Might even have been here where I read it, but I searched today for about five minutes, and couldn't find anything. For goodness sake, if you enjoy this flavor in candy and sodas, DO NOT read the wiki article that pops up. I got halfway through the short piece and clicked off, because I would have to give up my grape Jolly Ranchers.

 

Muscadines are what these scientists were copying when they created the fake chemicals to simulate it. I'm sure of it.

 

I remember eating mainstream California grapes and Michigan bing cherries together and commenting to my husband that the taste was almost alike. No one with a palate would ever mistake a muscadine for a cherry.

 

I adore these things, and have already eaten half of what I bought, but didn't get back for more today. I must go tomorrow before the window of opportunity passes.

 

I have saved some seeds and will try planting them on the edge of my woods. It should be an ideal environment for them. These are so very huge and good though that I fear they may be hybrids, which will make them infertile like mules, but it's worth a try.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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.I have saved some seeds and will try planting them on the edge of my woods. It should be an ideal environment for them. These are so very huge and good though that I fear they may be hybrids, which will make them infertile like mules, but it's worth a try.

I didn't even know there were hybrids. I guess I should have known, if they're farmed then there would probably be hybrids, but the only muscadines and muscadine products I've ever had came from plants growing wild in the woods in Alabama.

 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I didn't even know there were hybrids. I guess I should have known, if they're farmed then there would probably be hybrids, but the only muscadines and muscadine products I've ever had came from plants growing wild in the woods in Alabama.

 

 

I got my info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_rotundifolia

 

Scroll down to the Taxonomy heading for hybrids being sterile.

 

I just have to say again how passionately I love this fruit. I'm going to walk three miles, round trip, and carry back all I can.

 

I have no information that mine are hybrids, otherwise fooled around with and not wild. Mine are just so perfect. If they are wild and natural, all I have to say is: Nature is AMAZING.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

All the fresh muscadines have been scarfed up by yours truly.

 

I ate a few of my frozen muscadines today for the first time, and I can attest that they are excellent frozen treats. They were quite messy eating them out of hand, so next time I'll spear them with a toothpick.

 

The skin seemed to be tenderized a bit. Some complain about thick, tough skins, and even discard them. I'd never do that with something so flavorful and nutritious. The texture of the flesh is surprisingly creamy when frozen. I love these.

 

Bonus: if I decide to make racheld's pie or something else cooked, that's still on the table for later.

 

The neighbor I gave a bag of muscadines to for loaning his vehicle to go get them made wine and sent me about a cup in a jar. He's a Dr., most likely a Phd, because he's also a professor emeritus, and not an M.D., but I don't know. I haven't brought myself to question him if he did anything to kill the yeast after fermenting. I do know it was bread yeast, not brewer's, because my husband was sent to acquire it. Isn't it true that you're not supposed to ingest live bread yeast?

 

I'm real tempted to throw this homemade wine out and tell him it was delicious.  :laugh:

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I think you'll find that the yeast kills itself after the wine reaches a critical alcohol level. Bread yeast works just fine in wine - temperatures might be a little warmer than typical wine yeasts. I'd be pretty insulted if I gave someone wine and they didn't even taste it.

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When I attended Junior high school we made apple cider and wine in Chemstry class and used regular / bread yeast. Tasty experiment and no illness or death due to ingesting yeast. I think you should at least try the wine Thanks for the Crepes.

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  • 10 months later...

Heads up muscadine lovers with access to Food Lion grocery stores across the SouthEast!

 

Food Lion has recently taken a marketing initiative to bring in and promote fresh and local foods. Today they had Cottle Strawberry Nursery in Faison, NC black muscadines in quart clam shell containers for $2.99. In my store, they were with the stawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries refrigerated produce section. This nursery is less than 90 miles SSE of me, and I don't know how widely they are distributing them, but I wish you luck finding them, because they are heavenly. And very good on Food Lion for picking up their quality in this area by buying more local items for us all to enjoy.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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