Muscadine season arrives in Alabama

Alabama muscadine and scuppernong grape lovers are enjoying the fruits’ sweet tastes, with their arrival in grocery stores, farmers markets, roadside stands and pick–your–own farms.

Muscadines are one of the richest sources of antioxidants found above ground. Research points to significant health benefits associated with this grape. That’s an added bonus for those who just love the fresh taste of these native grapes. Unlike many human inhabitants, muscadines love the heat and humidity that is common in the South and thrive here as a result.

The difference in the scuppernong and the muscadine is the color. The scuppernong grape is a Muscadine grape. It is a green-bronze color and was named because it was found growing near the Scuppernong River in North Carolina (an Indian name) in the 17th century. There are numerous cultivars of muscadines for fresh eating and use in other products.

Muscadines make a healthy addition to diets. Not only are these grapes delicious and versatile, but they also contain ellagic acid and resveratrol, which studies say play a key role in preventing heart disease and high cholesterol. Additionally, they assist in treating ailments like arthritis, topical burns and the flu.

Muscadines are good for making jams, jellies or any dish using grapes. A number of muscadine vineyards sell fresh grapes and showcase other cultivars in wines at festivals throughout the year. The seeds and skins are often pulverized into powder and used in nutraceutical products. You will need to search the internet to find vineyards in our area that you can go and pick from. I know Morgan Creek Winery has them for you to pick but you will need to call and find out what times.

Muscadine Dump Cake

½ stick margarine

½ cup milk

½ cup sugar

1 cup prepared muscadines

¾ cup self-rising flour

Directions: To prepare muscadines, remove pulp. Cook pulp until seeds loosen, then press through sieve to remove seeds. Add pulp to skins and cook until tender. Add sugar to taste, some grated lemon peel and a sprinkle of apple-pie spice. Melt butter in glass pie plate. Mix flour, sugar and milk in another bowl. Pour flour mixture over butter. Carefully pour prepared muscadines over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Do not open oven until baking time is up. Cake should be brown on top. Yield: 8 servings.

Muscadine or Scuppernong Cobbler

2 pound Muscadine grapes (4 cups)

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup milk

Directions:

Cut grapes in half, remove seeds & squeeze pulp into bowl…Add skins & Cook with 1 cup sugar, lemon rind & apple pie spice in a saucepan over medium heat & bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer stirring occasionally…5 min or until tender.

Melt butter in a 11 X 7 baking dish in 350 oven.

Stir together flour, remaining cup sugar and milk; pour over melted butter. Pour muscadine mix over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.