What Exactly is a Muscadine?

Musky.

Muscadines are musky. At least the skins remind me of something musky. What we have are some really weird grapes, not really like the lychee, but they kind of are. It is like a plum and a grape had a child and the child had really really thick skin. Literally, the skin takes a little bit of maneuvering around to get a good bite out of it.

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Muscadines are one of those things like okra where I told people they were next on this blog and they got all excited. What that means is that I told the people around me, 99% southerners, that I was going to eat muscadines and everyone had a story about eating them from a relative’s yard.

Muscadines are apparently a wild food, but I still bought mine at the store because they were 2 for $4 and I did want to try them. When I was debating buying them I actually saw my aunt at the store and asked about them and she told me/reminded me that my great aunt had a vine in her backyard. I barely remember who I talked to on the phone after hanging up so that one took some digging to try and remember.

When I first took a bite it did taste vaguely familiar, but honestly more than anything it reminded me of alcohol. That might have been because the only thing I have ever heard of muscadines being used for was to make muscadine wine.

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Oh you bet your grapes I stared at the bottle of muscadine wine in the store and thought about buying it to let you all know, but, I am trying to be frugal so I guess I’ll save the headache for later.

It really feels like the muscadine is two separate fruits because of the skin. It is tough, almost to where you feel like you have to peel it, but not quite, just a scaled over grape skin. It has the same sensation like a plum where the skin has a definite tang to it and you kind of want to chew on it a little to extract every last drop of sourness because it is a pleasant taste.

The flesh on the inside can be either dark red closer to the flesh or green just like a regular grape. I think the dark red is when the muscadines are a little too ripe and it has darkened, but I swear to you that it tastes exactly like a plum. The green flesh is a grape, but darkly sweet if that makes any sense. You chew it up, swallow and you later lick your lips and can taste a ridiculously sweet taste that the muscadine flesh leaves. I am licking my fingers typing this up and debating getting some more.

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Like I have tried to convey to you all many times before, I want to be so honest with you all that it may be brutal. More than anything, I want to paint a picture of the world being your grocery with all kinds of new things to try as long as you go out and look and enjoy that time spent. However, I refuse to be that blogger who will always tell you something is absolutely delicious, worth your time and money and you can eat copious amounts of something.

Don’t eat too many of these muscadines. You will regret it.

They are not poisonous, but they will make you spend a whole day in a part of your house you don’t usually spend whole days in. Fortunately, this has not happened to me, but was a warning from my mother when I told her about muscadines. This can be true of most grape family fruits so be careful when you get to snacking and really enjoy something.

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On that note, I have been rationing out my little container of muscadines because I am really enjoying them, but don’t want to go overboard. I also want to make something with them but everything seems to require stewing and preserving and juicing and processes which I do not have time for, and I assume most others do not as well. You can make jelly, juice and wine, and I saw a few who baked them into pastries such as pies or made a cobbler, but again, time is not on my side.

Muscadines just feel classy and mysterious. You can serve red or white grapes on a cheese board or you can get fancy and throw some muscadines on there. I think it would really be nice, maybe slice them in half so they would be easier to eat with the skin and all. Their color is just gorgeous as well, it is such a deep red that you look at it and your brain tells you that it is black, but your eyes get back and say, no, that’s a maroon. I love stuff like that when you just get to looking at it and really marvel at how gorgeous something is.

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Also, I just want to give a shout out to my mother who not only gave me the warning for the muscadines but also let me borrow her dishes and back porch to take photos this week. They are beautiful and the backdrop of her garden is gorgeous as well.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in a while, but this is, in fact, week 37. There are only 15 weeks left in this year and only 15 more fruits and vegetables left to try. I am still taking suggestions because there are always last minute additions or deletions. Don’t forget to tell me all about your new fruits or veggies experience, or maybe even your kids first bite of something new that they loved and you were surprised by. Be sure to type it all up on the I Try page located by clicking here. If you have some photos of the occasion, be sure to let me know and I’ll get in touch with you to see if we can post them on here.

Author: Olivia O.

East Tennessee native with an interest in food and trying new things.

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