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Market Fresh: Fresh from the vine -- it's muscadine time



Anne Freeze



My Terry can spot a wild muscadine or scuppernong from a mile away. Often on our walks at the lake in Northern Alabama, he'll stop and investigate a woody, bushy area on the side of the road while I stand far back, scared of snakes or bears or any kind of natural life. He'll examine them, comment on them and pop as many as he can into his mouth.  


Luckily, he has friends who grow the grapevines in a more orderly fashion. Similar to our blueberry picking experiences, he'll load up grandchildren Ainsley and Jackson along with me and off we'll go, looking forward to an adventure. An hour later, Ainsley, Jackson and I are sweating, swatting off flying bomber insects, and Terry is chatting away with his buddy about how industrious his wife is! We then head back home with Terry talking about what I'll be making from the juicy grapes. I will say that he makes wine. That's an acquired taste. 


He once appeared at the kitchen door with what must have been 10-plus gallons of Concord grapes and a smile. I spent the next two days making juice and jam. It was sort of fun, but not a lot, although I loved the fresh juice.  


Lucky for all of us there have been fresh muscadines at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market for the past few weeks. I am making pepper jelly from them. Here are a few recipes I think you will enjoy.  








2 pints muscadine grapes 


12 jalapeno peppers, chopped 


3/4 cup green pepper, chopped 


1 cup apple cider vinegar 


5 cups sugar 


1 package of pectin 


3 drops of green food coloring 


canning jars with lids 




  • Cook the muscadine grapes in a medium saucepan and crush as they start to soften. Heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain the grapes through a sieve to separate the pulp and seeds from juice. Set the juice aside to cool. 


  • Process bell pepper and hot peppers in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add juice, pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. 










    2 pounds muscadine grapes 


    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 




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


  • Melt butter in an 11-by-7-inch baking dish in a 350 degree oven. 


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










    2 1/2 gallons muscadines 






    Lemon juice 




  • Stem, wash and mash muscadines. Strain and reserve juice. Put hulls and pulp in a kettle with a little water; bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary to prevent scorching.  


  • Remove from heat and strain through a strainer or jelly bag. Add juice to the reserved juice. Sweeten with sugar to your taste and add a little lemon juice. Put in an ice cream freezer and freeze as you would ice cream. 





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