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Oct 17, 2013 10:02 AM

"Swamp grapes"

Yesterday I saw a plastic container of grapes with a handwritten sign that said "Swamp grapes" so, of course, I bought them. When I got them home I saw the label on the box: Muscadine - The Ultra Health Fruit. They're big, freckled green. I realized I had heard of them before. They're purported to contain a lot of that stuff that makes red wine good for you. Anyway, I washed one, and popped it into my mouth and *tried* to chew. The skin is like leather. Wikipedia agreed with that and suggested nipping a tiny hole in one end, squeezing and sucking the inner flesh out. They do have seeds and the flavor is...interesting, but the process of eating them is fun! I'll share them with my grandchildren and see who can accumulate the biggest pile of deflated skins. Has anyone else seen them?

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  1. There are many varieties that are called slip-skin grapes - due to their heritage from Vitis labrusca (European dessert and wine grapes are typically Vitis vinifera). Concord grapes are perhaps the best known. Muscadines are particularly well known in the South, IIRC.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Now I'm reading that the large, green variety is called Scuppernong, so maybe that's what I have, despite the labeling. And yes, these come from Georgia.

      1. re: Pat Hammond

        And I should correct myself: muscadines are Vitis rotundifolia

        1. re: Karl S

          Yes, they're "rotund" for sure! Thanks,Karl.

          1. re: Pat Hammond

            Well, it's the *leaves* that are round-ish, rather than lobed....

    2. Muscadines are something we eat here in the south every year; their flavor is delicious. They make good jam BUT you need a lot of them and you have to seed them which is not as easy as seeding other grape varieties. Here, you can find local wine made with them. For the record, they grow like other grapes, on vines.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        By now, I've read a good bit about them. So interesting! I'd really like to try the wine one day.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          I'd imagine that you could use a food mill to get rid of the skins and seeds. I do that with Concords.

        2. I like the leathery skins. I didn't know people only ate the middles!

          1. They're scuppernongs; say "scupnons" or us southerners will look at you funny.

            Suck the innards out, spit out the seeds, then suck the sweet juice out of the hulls.

            You can easily make a jelly. Ordinary muscadines make a good jelly with sugar; they're usually mighty tart otherwise.

            3 Replies
            1. re: johnhicks

              That's exactly how I'm eating them. I just can't chew the skins up enough to enjoy the grape. Cheryl (above) says it takes a lot of grapes for the jelly and they're fairly expensive here. I'm glad I bought them though.

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                It takes a few more grapes to make the jelly because you don't eat the skins...

                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Yeah...last time it was about a gallon muscadines per pint of jelly. Mighty good.

            2. Since I am in the land of cotton, and away down South in Dixie, I reckon I am 'suppose' to like 'em..the wine...the jelly....etc, but I don't. The only way I can get around the taste is to freeze them, and eat them frozen. ~~~ Try freezing a few...just for fun!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Oh, I believe you! I started buying ThomCord grapes late in the summer. They're quite sweet, but freezing made them even sweeter, like candy. After eating way too many of the Muscadine, the flavor has grown on me and eating them just plain fun. I will freeze a few, though.