How to eat a muscadine:  Muscadines consist of the hull or skin, the juice, the pulp, and--with most varieties--the seeds.  Enjoy the color, size, and texture of the muscadine as you look at it.  Put the muscadine into your mouth.  Bite through the fleshy skin and allow the juice of the muscadine to be released into your mouth as you enjoy its sweetness and flavor.  After enjoying the juice, spit out the rest.

Actually, all parts of the muscadine have a high level of nutritional value, and all parts of the muscadine can be eaten fresh and uncooked.  Many people enjoy eating the pulp, which is pretty tasty and is the basis for muscadine jam.  The hulls are somewhat tougher and not as sweet, but cooked in a pressure cooker briefly are good in muscadine preserves and cobblers.  The seeds are collected by some and ground into powder as a nutritional supplement...or you can just eat them, although they tend toward bitter in flavor.

We will be posting recipes...!  We are cooking and baking weekly with muscadines we froze last season.  But eating the frozen muscadines straight from the freezer is a great treat! 

 

Sparkling Muscadine

One part muscadine juice

Two parts LaCroix raspberry sparking water

Ice Cubes:  any combination of the above ingredents, frozen into cubes

 

Mix the muscadine juice and sparking water.  Some may be poured into ice cube molds and frozen.  Serve freshly mixed juice and water over the frozen cubes.  Enjoy!

 

Low-Carb Muscadine Almond Smoothie

Hard Core

We have been creating low-carb recipes that are nutritious and delicious.  We have taken to smoothies during the summer months, and now that muscadine season is here, we have incorporated the earliest-ripened muscadines into our favorite treat.  Muscadines are a form of grape, and grapes are berries—will knowledgeable botanists please correct us if we are wrong?  Muscadines are not highly domesticated, and therefore full of nutritional benefits.  Muscadines also are naturally sweet, so no additional sugar is needed when making many recipes.  We have taken advantage of our already-crunchy smoothie with ice and almonds to retain the muscadine seeds, which also are highly nutritious.  Those who are less hard-core than we can elect to de-seed your muscadines before you add them to the mix.  You can also elect to remove the skin, but we choose to keep the most nutrition in the mixture.  Just be sure your *red* muscadines are black to the stem…that is, fully ripe!

Ingredients: 10 fully ripe muscadines, rinsed; 2 cups unsweetened almond milk; 12 almonds; 2 cups crushed ice

Blend muscadines, almond milk, and almonds in blender or smoothie mixer (we used Ninja), following mixer directions.  Pulsating enhances fuller mixing.  Add ice; pulsate/mix until desired consistency.  Serve in glass.  Yield:  serves 2

 

Muscadine Swirl Cheesecake

Cooking directions are based upon the Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe from Cooks Illustrated, Nov. 1. 2003.  For this recipe, we modified the ingredients to showcase muscadines, and in this case, we used muscadine jam:

Crust ingredients:  

5 ounces cinnamon graham crackers (9 whole crackers), pulsated in food processor; 6 Tablespoons butter, melted, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Filling:

1 1/3 Cups granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 1 3/4 pounds Cream Cheese (plain), 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract,  1 Tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon, 5 large eggs, 1 Cup Heavy Cream.  Note that chunks of the Cream Cheese and eggs are brought to room temperature for 30 minutes before mixing, and that the dry ingredients are added by thirds in a blade-type mixer at low medium speed, per Cooks Illustrated directions.  The eggs are added one at a time.

After the filling is placed on the crust that has been cooked and slightly cooled, 1 Cup of muscadine jam is placed on top of the filling and cut in swirls with a knife or spatula until fairly evenly distributed, but still distinctively swirled.  Cook to the target temperature...cooking time may be a little longer than the original recipe.  The actual cooking/baking/cooling instructions are more specific and can be found in the Cooks Illustrated.  

We like the flavors--the mellow, mild tartness of the cheesecake, contrasted with the texture and tart/sweetness of the muscadine.  The crisp cinnamon crust is a nice contrast.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Muscadine Syrup

Place about 2 cups of muscadine juice, white or red, in a tall-sided bowl.  Set in microwave and cook at one minute intervals, stirring occasionally.  Cook approximately a total of 7 minute-segments, until desired consistency.  Do not overcook.  Juice will have become more dense and can be used as a flavoring or sweetner for teas, lemonade, hot cereal, as an ingredient for other recipes.

 

Muscadine Pulp--courtesy of K. Williams

Rinse muscadines.  Separate the hulls from the juice and pulp by squeezing each muscadine, setting the hulls aside into a separate bowl.  Take the pulp--seeds, juice, and all--and put into a saucepan, adding about a cup of water to keep the pulp from scorching, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, being careful not to overcook.  Remove from heat, and press the pulp through a colander.  Cooking the pulp should help separate the seeds from the rest, so the pulp and juice can be captured when strained through the colander.

Hulls can be put in a pressure cooker, with about a cup or so of water (enough so the hulls don't scorch), and pressure brought up, using directions of the pressure cooker.  Cook under pressure 3-4 minutes.  Cool down the pressure cooker and remove the hulls.  If desired, can be BRIEFLY chopped in food processor, bringing to desired texture.

Options:  The pulp separated from the seeds can be stored/frozen, and the hulls can be stored/frozen for use later, if desired.  Pulp can be used to make muscadine jam.  Pulp and hulls can be combined to make muscadine preserves.  Hulls or pulp and hulls can be used to make muscadine cobbler or pie.  FYI---muscadine juice can be used to make muscadine jelly.   

 

Frozen Muscadine Jelly--loosely adapted from Sure-Jell package instructions for frozen jam

Note: We've been fond, for years, of the frozen strawberry jam, based upon the Sure-Jell recipe.  The beauty is that less processing is involved, and a fresher taste is maintained than with canned jams.

You will need :1 gallon of muscadine juice, 4 packages of powdered Sure-Jell for making jelly without adding sugar; pint or 1/2 pint freezer containers with lids, washed in hot water; candy thermometer; stock pot; saucepan; oven mitts; ladle; long-handled and saucepan stirring spoons

We used freshly pressed, filtered juice from ripe Noble muscadines.  Put 4 cups of the juice into a saucepan, adding the Sure-Jell for not adding sugar.  Put the rest of the juice into a large stock pot on a medium flame, stirring occasionally.  Gradually heat the juice in the stockpot to 180 degrees Farenheit.  In the meanwhile, stirring constantly, bring the juice and Sure-Jell in the saucepan to a boil, then boil for one minute.  When the stockpot juice reaches 180 degrees F., preferably right about the time the Sure-Jell mixture has finished its one minute boil, gradually ladle the Sure-Jell mixture into the stockpot juice, stirring with each addition, until all is mixed.  Ladle into the freezer containers, careful to not burn yourself!  Put lids on the containers.  Place in freezer.  Store the jelly in the freezer, and return to the freezer after each use.   For best results, remove from freezer 5-20 minutes before serving.  OR, you can keep a small container in the refrigerator between uses, depending upon preference for firmness.  Advantage...limited processing, and no sugar or other sweetener is added...muscadines are plenty sweet!

 

Paleo Muscadine Cobbler

This recipe is exciting because the whole muscadine is used, and no additional sweetening is added to the filling.  Take note that the seeds are still present--which increases the nutritional value.  One can separate the hull from pulp and put pulp through a colander to separate the seeds, if desired, and then use the de-seeded pulp and hulls in the colander.  The recipe is based upon a berry cobbler recipe by Sarah Fragoso in Everyday Paleo, which is an excellent cookbook.

Ingredients:  3 Cups Fresh or Frozen Muscadines; 1 recipe of Paleo crust (almond flour and egg base) 

(See Everyday Paleo cookbook by Sarah Fragoso) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Spread muscadines in the bottom of a pie pan.  The muscadines are naturally sweet enough that no additional sweetening is needed.

With hands, evenly crumble crust on top.  Bake 25-35 minutes.  Fragoso suggests serving the cobbler with whole coconut milk.

  

Muscadine Slush

Ingredients:  4 cups crushed ice, 2 cups muscadine juice

Place crushed ice in slush/smoothie machine.  Add one cup of muscadine juice.  Blend, adding more muscadine juice until desired consistency is reached.

For low calorie version:  Substitute ice water for 1 3/4 muscadine juice. 

Serve in large glass with straw.  Also good to serve with straw in insulated cup for warm outdoor activities.