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Muscadine Grapes (Swamp Grapes)
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Muscadine grapes are large in size and round to oblong in shape, averaging 2-4 centimeters in diameter and grow in loose clusters. The berries resemble small, round plums and the smooth, glossy skin is thick, tough, and ranges in color from green when immature to bronze, dark purple, to almost black when ripe. Muscadine grapes are a slip-skin variety, which means the skins can easily be removed from the flesh without damaging it. The green, translucent flesh is juicy, and there are 1-5 large seeds encased in the center. Muscadine grapes are very sweet with a musky scent and flavor, and the skin is tart or slightly bitter in flavor.
Muscadine grapes are available from late summer through mid-fall
Muscadine grapes, botanically classified as Vitis rotundifolia, grow on deciduous North American vines and are members of the Vitaceae family. Muscadine grapes are one of four grape varieties native to North America and are found both in the wild and in commercial vineyards in the Southeastern United States. Also known as Swamp grapes in New York, Muscadine grapes earned this name for the wetland regions that they are grown. Golden and bronze varieties of Muscadine grapes are also called Scuppernongs as they were found growing along the Scuppernong River in North Carolina. Muscadine grapes are known as a unique table grape and are predominately known for making sweet wines and jellies.
Muscadine grapes are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, polyphenols, and potassium and also contain antioxidants and vitamin C.
Muscadine grapes can be used in both raw and cooked applications such as boiling and roasting. They can be consumed fresh, out-of-hand as a table grape and the skins can be left on or removed depending on preference. When used raw, they can be quartered and mixed into salads or chopped into a salsa. They can also add a sweet flavor to whole-grains such as quinoa or rice. Muscadine grapes are used to make wine, juices, jellies, jams, and sauces. They can also be used to make cocktails and desserts such as pie and sorbet. Muscadine grapes pair well with meats such as chicken, fish, pork, sausage, and brisket, spicy foods, Asian dishes, and barbeque. They will keep up to a week when stored unwashed in a container in the refrigerator.
Muscadine grapes have been used for winemaking in the United States since the 16th century. The wine is characteristically sweet and is often used as a dessert wine. Sugar is also added during the winemaking process to create a sweet flavor. Muscadine wine was one of the top wines produced and consumed before and immediately after prohibition in the 1920s. In addition to winemaking, the skin and seeds of Muscadine grapes are also crushed and ground into a powder and sold for their nutritional qualities to companies who make supplements.
Muscadine grapes are native to the United States and were first documented in the mid-1500s. Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have discovered the berry during one of his explorations, and Muscadine grapes are some of the first native grapes to be cultivated in the United States. Today Muscadine grapes can be found growing in the wild and are also cultivated for specialty markets in the United States.
Recipes that include Muscadine Grapes (Swamp Grapes). One is easiest, three is harder.
|Add a Pinch||Muscadine Jelly|
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