Fall brings the grape harvest and for the Southeast, that means muscadines. We’re huge fans, loving the flavor. But the seeds and tough skins put a lot of people off. These folks have taken the work out of eating muscadines.
Butterfields Muscadine Grape Buds
Sometimes you just want a tiny taste of something sweet. And when that something sweet tastes like muscadines, all the better. Butterfields Candies in Nashville, North Carolina, makes “Buds,” 1/2-inch long candies in flavors like peach and honeybell. They just introduced their Muscadine Buds, flavored with natural grape and muscadine oils. The pale purple color comes from another grape product, crystallized merlot. The company likes to say it’s products have been “disappearing from candy jars since 1924.” We know the contents of our little package disappeared from our desk in a few hours. Even those who thought they didn’t like muscadines, loved these little sweet bits. You’ll find these candies online and in gift shops. $3.33 per 3-ounce package or buy a pound online for $12.95. Available at the Atlanta History Center, The Westin Peachtree Hotel, the InterContinental Buckhead and the Strawberry Patch boutique in Cleveland. http://butterfieldscandies.com
Paulk’s Pride Muscadine Juice
Another way to enjoy muscadines without the hassle of the seeds and the skins is as juice. The Paulk family has been growing muscadines since 1970, starting with one vine and now harvesting fruit from over 600 acres. They produce juice, jelly and supplements from this quintessential Southern grape. We tried the purple and white juices, both sweet only from the grapes. No sugar is added. We love the fragrance of muscadines and the juice really captures it. The purple has a complex wine-like taste, while the white (which is actually a pretty gold color) is more straightforward and may be a better choice for those new to the flavor of muscadines. We tried the juice in a muscadine smoothie and the website suggests making a muscadine mimosa. What a great idea for a fall brunch. Coming in 2018, Paulk’s Pride red and white muscadine wines. The juice is $6.99 per 25-ounce bottle. Available at http://paulkspride.com and at Whole Foods stores in metro Atlanta.
Ancient Awakenings Sparkling Grape Water Kefir
We love sparkling water kefirs, especially the Sparkling Grape flavor from Woodstock’s Ancient Awakenings. Full of probiotics and electrolytes and lightly fermented, it’s made from organic grape juice concentrate, although not from muscadines. The appearance of kefirs on the market is a reflection of our renewed interest in cultured and fermented foods. Dana and Steve Rankin who own Ancient Awakenings started their business to share their passion for natural health and ancient healing methods. They make water kefirs in flavors including Sparkling Orange/Peach/Mango and coconut kefirs in Vanilla Banana and Acai Blueberry among others. The water kefirs are definitely sparkling and taste mildly yeasty and slightly sweet. Totally refreshing. $6 per 12-ounce bottle. Available at Whole Foods, the Morningside Farmers Market and at Ancient Awakenings, 11517 Highway 92, Woodstock. http://ancientawakenings.net