Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Muscadine Preserves

Muscadine grapes (Muscadinia rotundifolia) are native to the southeastern US and there are several cultivars, purple or greenish-bronze, available. You can grow this grape or pick it wild, if you know a source. My cultivated muscadine (purple Ison) is highly prolific and relatively care free, though you may have to beat it back regularly, as it is a vigorous grower! Muscadines are, unfortunately, not table grapes and are traditionally made into jelly, juice or sweet (cloying?) muscadine wine. I don't like grape jelly, so I make my muscadines into preserves. Take about 4 quarts, slash and squeeze out the seedy pulp, reserving the skins in one bowl and the pulp in another. Cook down the pulp about 10 minutes and strain to remove the large seeds, and return strained pulp to the pot. To this add the pureed skins (use a blender or food processor to puree them as small as you can get them) and bring to a boil. Add 2 T lemon juice, sugar to taste (I use about 4 cups) mixed with reduced sugar pectin-follow package directions and directions for canning. These are very grapey-tasting preserves, good atop cheese and in good ol' PB&J sandwiches! And the jam scents the whole house while cooking!
Happy gardening and eating!

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