September 19, 2009

Wild Muscadines

Wild muscadines on the vine.Dan may love his strawberry jam, but my best favorite is wild muscadine jelly. That's why I was delighted to find muscadines growing on the property when we first got here. I've been keeping an eye on their progress,and just the other day I discovered that they were purple, plump, and ready to pick. My only concern was whether or not I could find enough to make myself a batch of jelly!

I knew of three places on the property where muscadines were growing, and Dan said there were more back in the woods. These vines grow tall in the trees, so I brought a ladder as well as a bucket.

Not all of the vines I found were bearing fruit. I later learned that this is because vines either produce perfect (self-fertile), or imperfect (pistillate only) flowers.

One surprise awaited me ....

My latest find, green muscadines.
We have green muscadines as well as purple! These are commonly called scuppernongs, which technically may or may not be the case. Scuppernongs are a variety of green muscadine, but there are other green (aka bronze) varieties too. "Scuppernong" is just one of those catch-all terms.

Between the two, I was able to pick a little over four pounds, which is what my jelly recipe calls for.

The 2 together look lovely in the pot.
I use the recipe for grape jelly in the pectin box. The only thing I do differently is to cook them without water in the beginning. The recipe calls for adding a cup and a half of water for cooking, but I don't want to water down my juice at this point. I want to make sure that all of the juice goes into the jelly. By starting on a low heat and crushing them thoroughly, they cook well without burning.

I should have used a lighter color bowl for this photo.
Once the juice has dripped (and been squeezed) from the pulp, I add just enough water to make up the total liquid called for in the recipe. In this case, I had to add one cup.

From those 4 pounds of grapes, I got 9 half-pints of jelly. It is a lighter color than I've made in the past, I suppose from the addition of the green muscadines. The flavor is absolutely fantastic. Nothing like it for a PB&J sandwich, or in the morning, on toast with a cup of fresh brewed coffee...

I love this jelly!
Care to join me?

Text & photos of Wild Muscadines copyright Sept 2009 


Renee Nefe said...

I recently got to help my friend make crabapple jelly. I helped smush the juice out of the apples. I think I might have squeezed too hard as I was forcing the pulp into the cloth's weave. oops!

Sharon said...

I remember a poem called Judy Scuppernong. I had no idea that it was a fruit. I do love tart homemade jams and jellies, though not enough to do more than admire yours.

Helen said...

Oh wow I wish! ( I could join you)

Robin said...

I have never heard of muscadines before so I had to go look them up. Very neat. Sure makes those common fruits you find in the store seem boring.

Theresa said...

I'd be right over if it was at all feasible! I'm so ignorant of preserving and canning techniques, other than the very basics.
Looks delicious and what a wonderful property find those muscadines are!

Leigh said...

Renee, I'd love to have some crabapples to make jelly! In fact, I was just thinking about those the other day. It's my brother's favorite and I'd love to make him some for Christmas.

Sharon, these make a wonderfully tart jelly. Even using the full sugar pectin. A perfect sweet in my mind.

Helen, any time!

Robin, I probably should have mentioned that these are wild grapes. Nows a fine time to think of it.

Theresa, canning is a lot of fun if you enjoy cooking. The eating is even better. What a sense of satisfaction to pull out jars of one's own bounty during those cold winter months!

Randy said...

Interesting - I've never heard of muscadines, either, so I just looked them up & saw they're a type of grape. There's so many different fruits, veggies, herbs, etc. that seem to grow wild on our property, we don't even know they're there, it's nice to read about something like this.

Julie said...

Looks yummy! You are so lucky to have so much wonderful things growing.
I will be right over!

Dorothy said...

How lucky you are to gave wild grapes! I looked them up in Wikipedia and found it's a native plant. Wow.

We don't have many wild fruit plants, but the native blackberries are a autumn treat and people closely guard the secret of where to find good berries. I've found about 3 lbs of berries this year, all now washed and in bags in the freezer. My Grandad (who never had a freezer) used to bottle them in Kilner jars - which is the same process you call canning, and then eat them at breakfast on his cornflakes.

bspinner said...

Your jelly looks so good!!!
Just let me know the next time you're serving tea and jelly toast.

Marie said...

This is fascinating, I had never heard of Muscadines, it looks beautiful, and Sharon do you have the poem?

Sharon said...

Judy Scuppernong is actually a collection of childrens poems written by Brenda Seabrooke and beautifully illustrated by Ted Lewin.

Leigh said...

Lynn, I appreciate your visit and comment! Also enjoyed your blog. It's possible you have muscadines in Maryland, keep your eyes open as you roam all those acres!

Julie and Barb, come on over! I'll get the coffee and toast going!

Dorothy, that's interesting about your Grandad. Folks here usually make jam, jelly, or freeze blackberries like you did. I wouldn't have thought to can them though. I may try it sometime.

Maries Cottage, good question. And Sharon, thanks for the answer!

Benita said...

That looks and sounds awesome! I miss this kind of thing. I think it's time to plant me some grape vines!

Heather said...

Looks delicious. We had what I thought were muscadines at our old place, I thought they had a really distinct sort of taste (and scent too, kind of). Now I'm wondering if that really is what ours were or if I had them mixed up. Hmmm.