The entire muscadine fruit is edible. Some people eat the whole berry—skins, seeds, and pulp. Others prefer to squeeze the skin and pop the pulp into their mouth and discard the skins. Still others like to spit the seeds out and only eat the pulp. Generally, the Muscadine is used in jams, jellies, wines, or any other recipes using grapes.
Muscadines are only partially related to more domesticated grapes. They’re wild and they taste like it. The inner flesh is rich and thick, with an intense sweetness like a Concord grape, and they have tough spicy skins that taste like plums. The fruit makes a wonderful jam, too.
Unlike table grapes that ripen simultaneously in a pendulous bunch, muscadines ripen individually in loose clusters. Compared to other grape species, muscadine grapevines may produce almost eight-fold yields of other grapes.
Red, white, and rosé Muscadine are all medium-bodied, with intense fruit flavors such as banana, bruised apple, and cranberries. Other subtler notes include herbal, floral, citrus, and even (this is a strange one) rubber cement. Sweet, dessert-style Muscadine wines are comparable to Portuguese tawny port wine.
Muscadine grape grows from Texas to south Florida, north to Delaware, and west to Missouri. The grapes are a favorite food source for white-tailed deer. Other wildlife also eat the fruit, including black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, and opossum.
Scuppernong is an alternative name for Muscadine grapes. The Muscadine grape prefers the heat and humidity of the southern United States for growing and it is also the state fruit of North Carolina.
Muscadine varieties ripen from early August through September. Mature fruit are easily dislodged from the vine. Ripe berries can be harvested rapidly by placing a canvas or catching frame under the vine and shaking the vine or wire very hard. Vines should be harvested every two to five days.