Tuesday, September 04, 2012

oh my darling muscadine

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There was a fine drizzle of rain as we walked down the dirt road that runs in front of our house, looking for the muscadines that grow wild this time of year.

muscadine

The vines were tangled high in the evergreen trees, we stood up on our tiptoes to grab handfuls, tumbling them into our basket. Their colors vary from nearly black to the prettiest shade of purple I've ever seen.

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Muscadines are so fragrant, deep and rich, vaguely winey. I brought them inside, cut them open, and set them to simmer down into a syrup, the scent filling the house, lingering in every corner.

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My mom has been telling me about her grandmothers muscadine jelly since I was a little girl. She waxes poetic about the sweet stuff, but I never had the chance to meet my great-grandmother, or taste her jelly. As I was standing over the bubbling pot, I felt connected to this woman I never met. It's funny (and wonderful) how food can do that.

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I didn't have quite enough juice to make jelly, so I decided on a syrup, ruby red & sweet. It'd be great over biscuits or pancakes, even ice cream. I stirred a spoonful into a cup of hot black tea. Next time I'm going to turn it into muscadine sorbet.

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Muscadine Syrup

1 cup muscadine juice*
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

To release the juice, cut open your muscadines and place in a stock pot. Fill pot with water, just covering the muscadines. Simmer for 15 minutes, mashing occasionally with a potato masher. Pour fruit through a mesh strainer, pressing hard on the solids, (I then placed the skins in a lemon juicer, to extract as much juice as possible), into another stock pot. Add sugar and lemon juice, and bring the juice to a boil, then allow to simmer. Cook until it coats the back of a spoon. Pour into clean jar. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

*You want equal parts juice & sugar. If you have more/less juice, just add the same amount of sugar. I started with about 4 cups of muscadines and got 1 cup of juice.

136 comments:

  1. Well, I have to thank you for this lovely intro to muscadines. I had not heard of them until you posted about it on Facebook. Now I feel a strong desire to try them. That color... stunning.

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    Replies
    1. They are so good! A unique flavor, for sure. I'd send you a box full if I could find more. :)

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  2. beautiful! I don't think I've ever tasted muscadines before but a sorbet sounds incredible.

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  3. Beautiful!!!
    I really don't know what I like more here, the photography, the post or the deliciousness...
    Everything is just GORGEOUS!!

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  4. So lovely! In my opinion, muscadine jelly from Alabama is tops :)

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  5. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! you are just blowing me away, Hannah.

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  6. It's amazing the variety of fruit to be found in the wild. Never heard of these but I live the simplicity of your recipe Hannah. Over pancakes sounds good to me.

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  7. Just beautiful and I love your basket. I made homemade grape jelly last year for the first time, and I'm hoping to get lucky again this year, but I've yet to find more than a small gathering of wild grapes...

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  8. Hannah- this could be one of my favorite posts of yours. Love this and am dreaming of this on a piece of toasted and buttered brioche.

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  9. Hi, I just recently discovered your blog and I am in awe. All of your photography and styling are simply beautiful. I love this post. I too have never heard of muscadines, but the color is amazing and I want to try this syrup!

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  10. I've actually never heard of muscadine - but your pictures are lovely! :)

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  11. i've heard of muscadine but never seen them - what jewels! love their color and that gem-like color of the syurp. such beauty.

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  12. I grew up eating muscadines & their Wonka-esque named cousin the scuppernog off the vine...they are so much better than grapes to me...the tart skin bursting with the sweet insides & spitting out the seeds...I love it all! This syrup would make an awesomely southern addition to the 2nd fermentation of my kombucha...

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  13. so lovely, these photos. I have never heard of muscadine...

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  14. Haha I've never even heard of those! Your pictures are incredible, by the way :)
    -mal
    faithlifephotos.blogspot.com

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  15. Beautiful! Now I'm curious if my neighbor's tree [that overhangs into my yard] actually has muscadines instead of grapes. I haven't ever paid too much attention!

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  16. Your blog is so beautiful, truly an inspiration. I love this post about finding unusual, local delicacies and creating heaven from them. I recently discovered we have Elderflower growing on our land and am looking forward to learning to make syrup from the flowers next year when they come back into bloom. Elderflower goes beautifully with gooseberries for jam. Thank you.

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  17. My husband picked some about a month ago and I juiced them....so good! I saved a few seeds to plant some at our house---though from experience in the wild, they do get out of hand here in Texas. A great native!

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  18. I don't think I ever had muscadine but by the look and your description, I think it's a great treat. Plus I love the color so very much!

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  19. What are muscadines? I realise from your blog post that they are a fruit and grow on a tree but are they a berry, or like a plum? I hope that you don't mind me asking but I've no idea.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Alicia, they are a type of grape. I linked to the wikipedia page in the post. :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscadine

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    2. Oooh wow. Thank you for the link. I appreciate you having done this. :)

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  20. Hannah, I grew up in Kentucky but have never heard of Muscadines. Now I'm intrigued. The next time I'm home during their season I'll have to look for them. Beautiful photos as always!

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  21. Hannah, everything you do is beautiful. I love this gorgeous post.

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  22. Thank you for sharing! I'd eat this by the spoonful if I could! hehe

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  23. I love the feel of this post! The transition from summer to fall is my favorite. Also, that basket is fantastic!

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  24. beautiful Hannah, the photos, the story, the recipe . . . perfect

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  25. Love your blog, love this post. I'd never heard of muscadines before - do you get them in the uk?

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  26. I, also have never heard of these grapes. They sound (and look) delicious! I love your photos!

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  27. I have never heard of those grapes either but the jam looks super yummy! You're a great photographer!

    I have been following your blog for a while now, but just recently decided to start one myself and comment :)
    I just wanted to let you know that I really like yours, all your recipes look scrumptious :)

    Michela from Italy

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  28. I haven't heard of muscadine before too...
    I wonder what food you can make from it...

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  29. Hello, I've just discovered your beautiful photography and of course, your gorgeous blog!!! The photo of the Muscadine syrup is just stunning!

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  30. Hello Hannah, just to say I love your blog. Your pictures are amazing. It's very inspirational for me.
    I live in France and commute every day to work in Paris and I appreciate the quietness of your environnment.

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  32. I've never heard of these grapes before and they look gorgeous! I love your posts and I always feel like you're living some magical life in the woods. The light, the colours and the care in everything you do is pretty special.

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  33. I have honestly never heard of muscadines before but they look absolutely beautiful like little balls of gorgeousness.

    Nina x

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  34. I've never heard of muscadine before, but thanks for the delicious introduction :)

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  35. Brilliant! Got some muscadine hunting to do this weekend. Got my eye on your next posts.

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  36. This looks amazing...

    I guess I'm going on a muscadine hunt this weekend...

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  37. What a great post! My father has just planted muscadine grapes and host to harvest them within the next few years.

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  38. Your blog is great. Beautiful pictures and very tasty food! I love it!

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  39. This sounds like a very unique flavour :) Your photos are lovely and it's obvious you have a natural eye for composition and detail.

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  40. I wanted to thank you for this special read.I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts.

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  41. Hannah,
    I've been following on Flickr and I will for sure follow you here:I just adore your photographs, they are so warm, colorful, true and dreamy.

    Congrats!

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  42. Never had muscadine syrup in my life, sounds amazing!

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  43. I love your photos, they are so crisp and beautiful. I discovered your blog via a recipe pinned on Pinterest!

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  44. Such a stunning jam! Love that ruby red color :)

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