Celebrate the powerful muscadine — Neuse News
If you’re from eastern North Carolina, you’re probably familiar with Muscadine grapes. They are large, round, thick-skinned fruits that are often made into sweet wines and jellies. They are considered “the varietal of choice in the South”, according to many muscadine growers and processors.
Did you know that muscadine is a powerful antioxidant, surpassing even nutritional superstars like blueberries and pomegranates in their antioxidant content? Muscadines are known to be particularly rich in antioxidants resveratrol and ellagic acid.
Resveratrol is the antioxidant responsible for red wine’s reputation for heart health, and the potent muscadine has nine times the antioxidant power of the red grapes used to make California red wines. They also contain six times more fiber; muscadine wines can also contain three to four times more phenolic compounds (which have antioxidant properties), as well as higher ellagic acid content than your average red wine.
According to the most recent research, “Resveratrol helps lower cholesterol, fight cancer and some more recent studies show that it may reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more, and ultimately can extend one’s life.
Muscadines are also fat-free, high in fiber, low in sodium and an excellent source of manganese – they are a perfect addition to a healthy diet.
To get the full nutritional power, you have to think about eating the skin!
To really celebrate the Mighty Muscadine, head to the North Carolina Muscadine Festival https://www.ncmuscadinefestival.com/
Scuppernong or Muscat grape tart
(I’ve shared this recipe before but it still ranks number 1 for most requested recipes, recipe by Nancie McDermott for Our State Magazine)
Dough for a 9 inch double crust pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 cups Muscadine or scuppernong grapes (about 2 pounds), rinsed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the crust, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt, and stir with a fork to mix well. Prepare a medium bowl and a medium saucepan.
Squeeze the grapes over the pan, drop the pulpy, seed-filled grapes into the pan, and place their thick, sturdy skins, or hulls, into the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cook the grape pulp until soft and shiny, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked grape pulp to a colander and place it over the bowl of grape hulls. Squeeze the grapes through the colander, pushing the softened pulp into the pan with the hulls while extracting the large, round seeds. Use the back of a large spoon to get as much pulp as possible. Discard the seeds and transfer the hulls and pulp to the pan. Cook over medium heat to soften the cockles, about 5 minutes longer.
Add sugar mixture and lemon juice to raisins and stir to combine well. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the small pieces of butter over the raisin filling, distributing them evenly. Wet edge of bottom pie crust to help seal.
Roll the remaining dough into a 10 inch circle and cover the filling. Trim the excess pastry over the edge of the pie pan. Crimp the edges tightly or press down with the back of a fork, working your way around the edge of the pie to seal the crust well. Use a sharp knife to cut 8 slits in the top crust, to allow steam to escape and juices to bubble up while the pie bakes.
Place pie on foil-lined baking sheet to catch drips and place on bottom shelf of 400 degree oven. Cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until the crust is a nice golden brown and the grape juice is bubbling through the crust, about 40 to 50 minutes longer. Place the pie on a cooling rack or folded kitchen towel and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes a 9 inch double crust pie.
Slow Cooker Muscat Grape Butter
2 lbs muscadines, seeds removed
1 ½ cups sugar
8 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix the three ingredients. Place in slow cooker. Turn on high for three hours or low for 8 hours. When the time is up, uncover the slow cooker and blend the cooked raisins in, I like to use an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one, chill your mixture and use a blender. Mix until you get the desired texture, thick or smooth.
Pour the hot mixture into a jar, apply the lid. Allow the jar to cool for 2 hours before placing it in the refrigerator. Use it like you would apple butter, sweet potato butter, or any other fruit or vegetable butter.
Muscadine Cake or Scuppernong
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding
½ cup melted butter
1 ¼ cup muscadine or scuppernong, or juice
For the icing;
4 tablespoons Muscat juice
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, pudding, butter, eggs and wine/juice in a large bowl and beat for 4 minutes. Put the dough in a well buttered and floured cake pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly and unmold while still warm.
For the icing, Combine 4 tablespoons Muscat juice and 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar in a small bowl. Poke small holes in the cake with a toothpick to allow the frosting to cover and penetrate.
Muscadine Grape Juice
2 pounds. Muscadine grapes
1⁄4 cup sugar
Wash and stem the grapes and fill the sterilized/hot jars with 3/4 of the grapes. Add 1 tbsp. sugar in each pint jar or 2 tbsp. sugar in a liter jar. Fill each jar with boiling water.
Add lids and rings; tighten by hand.
Process in a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Store the jars for 2 to 3 weeks. Strain the juice and raisins through a cheesecloth-lined colander into a bowl.
Refrigerate or proceed to make jelly. Makes 2 pints.