FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPT. 4, 2008
||John Snipes, marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
(919) 733-7887, ext. 236
N.C. muscadine season in full swing
RALEIGH — Muscadine grape lovers are enjoying the sweet taste of North Carolina’s official state fruit, with their arrival in grocery stores, farmers markets, roadside stands and pick your own farms. Early indications are 2008 will be a great muscadine season, with a good supply of grapes available.
Besides their delicious flavor, muscadines are one of the richest sources of antioxidants found above ground.
"Research points to significant health benefits associated with this grape," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "That’s an added bonus for those of us who just love the fresh taste of these native grapes."
Muscadines have a rich and storied history in North Carolina. A bronze selection, known as a scuppernong, was found prior to 1760 by Issac Alexander in Tyrell County. Some of Sir Walter Raleigh’s men noted that the coastal area of North Carolina was overflowing and abundant with these grapes. Unlike many human inhabitants, muscadines love the heat and humidity that is common in the South and thrive here as a result.
Confusion still exists about the difference in the scuppernong and the muscadine, said John Snipes, marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "There are numerous cultivars of muscadines for fresh eating and use in other products. They tend to vary in appearance, depending on the particular cultivar, and range in hue from bronze to black," he said. "So to be accurate, it is better to use the term muscadine when the species is unknown."
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," Snipes said. "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.
To find local suppliers or for more on muscadines, go to www.ncfarmfresh.com or www.ncmuscadine.org.
EDITORS’ NOTE: A recipe using muscadines is included for use if space permits.
North Carolina Muscadine "Dump Cake"
½ stick margarine
½ cup milk
½ cup sugar
1 cup prepared N.C. muscadines
¾ cup self-rising flour
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.