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Scuppernong Muscadine Grapes
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Scuppernong grapes are large in size and are oblong to round in shape, averaging 2-4 centimeters in diameter and grow in loose clusters. The thick skin ranges in color from pale green, bronze, to golden and there may be some speckling or spots across the smooth skin. Scuppernong grapes are a slip-skin variety, which means their skin can easily be separated from the soft flesh without damage. The translucent green flesh is soft, juicy, and contains 1-5 large seeds. Scuppernong grapes are sweet and slightly acidic, with undertones of honeysuckle and orange blossom, and have a musky scent and flavor that lingers on the tongue.
Scuppernong grapes are available in late summer through fall.
Scuppernong grapes, botanically classified as Vitis rotindiflora, grow on hardy deciduous vines and are indigenous to the Southeastern United States. Also known as Scuplin grapes, Scupadine grapes, and Scuppernine grapes, Scuppernongs are the original variety of Muscadine grapes. They were discovered along the banks of the Scuppernong River in North Carolina, and the term “Scuppernong” has since been used to refer to all green and bronze-colored varieties of Muscadine grapes. They grow in clusters of 1-15 berries and ripen individually in the cluster, making hand-harvesting a requirement for this variety of grape.
Scuppernong grapes contain vitamins B and C, potassium, trace minerals, antioxidants, and a high amount of fiber. The skin and seeds are also high in resveratrol, which is a natural antibiotic that has been shown to have positive effects on human heart health and lowering cholesterol.
Scuppernong grapes are best suited for both raw and cooked preparations such as roasting and boiling. They may be eaten fresh as a table grape as the skin is edible, but it is tough and often removed due to preference. Scuppernong grapes are most commonly used to make jams, jellies, preserves, juices, and wines. They are also used in grape hull pie, which is a classic Southern recipe that includes the skin of the grape in the pie to incorporate nutritional properties. Scuppernong grapes can also be roasted and used alongside savory meats like pork, brisket, and sausage and served with whole grains such as rice or quinoa. Scuppernong grapes pair well with basil, vanilla, lemon, butter, sugar, cream, and white meats such as chicken and fish. They will keep up to a week when stored unwashed in a container in the refrigerator.
Scuppernong grapes are the state fruit of North Carolina and have been featured in country music songs, literature, and art. They are referenced in Harper Lee's famous novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, written in 1960, where she wrote that "helping ourselves to someone's scuppernongs was part of our ethical culture." Scuppernongs were commonly grown in home gardens and were found growing wild across the southern United States. They were often shared between neighboring families and were believed by some to help spread a sense of community.
Scuppernong grapes were first recorded in the mid-1500s by Italian explorers on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The name "Scuppernong" was bestowed upon the grape in the 1700s when it was also found in the Tidewater region of North Carolina, close to the Scuppernong River. Cuttings were taken from the mother vine on Roanoke Island and the Scuppernong River and were spread around the Southern United States. Scuppernong grapes remained a popular grape until the late 20th century when other sweeter muscadine varieties began to supersede them. Today Scuppernong grapes can be found growing wild, in home gardens, and they can also be found at select specialty grocers in the Southeastern United States.
Recipes that include Scuppernong Muscadine Grapes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Food Network||Eboo's Wild Scuppernong Pie|
|Deep South Dish||Muscadine and Scuppernong Jelly|
|Rebecca Lang Cooks||The Recipe That Almost Died|
|The Spruce Eats||Scuppernong Jam|
|Our State Celebrating North Carolina||Scuppernong Grape Hull Pie|