The favored way to enjoy the muscadine grape is fresh, right off the vine. But this unique taste treat may also be enjoyed in a variety of other ways, including dried, cooked or frozen.
To freeze, spread individual grapes on a cookie sheet and freeze for 24 hours. Bag after freezing and enjoy all winter long.
To dry, either convert grapes to raisins, storing in air-tight jars, or make grape leathers. Grape leathers are nutritious treats for the entire family and are simple to make.
Extract juice from black or red muscadines in whatever way you prefer, add sugar if desired and cook slowly until juice is the consistency of a thick paste.
Spread paste on cookie sheets to a depth of one-half inch and dry slowly in a 150-degree oven until dry on outside and soft on inside. Cut in strips and store in airtight jars or freeze.
Grape juice continues to be an annual favorite, whether fresh, canned, frozen or slightly fermented to form a grape cider. To make grape
cider, juice either white or red grapes, place in plastic jugs or store at room temperature for 24 hours or until barely bubbly and frothy. Then refrigerate immediately and enjoy.
Grape syrup can also be made from grape juice by using any standard jelly recipe, omitting pectin, adding only a small amount of sugar if desired, and cooking until juice is the desired consistency. Use immediately, can, or freeze.
Cooked grapes run the gamut of jellies, conserves, preserves, jams.
Pressing Out Juice
Many muscadine grape products, such as jelly, unfermented juice or frozen juice, are made from the juice only. This requires pressing the crushed grapes. Grapes used for pressing out juice do not need to be deseeded, but must be heated if juice is to be used for making jelly.
The simplest way of pressing out grape juice is
by the use of a strong cloth sack with medium-size mesh. By
twisting the two ends of the filled sack in opposite directions on
a smooth clean stick, the greater part of the juice can be pressed
Grape juice may be cold-pressed, hot-pressed or a mixture of cold and hot-pressed juices. It is important to retain the flavor qualities of the fresh juice. White grapes may be completely pressed without heating, but the color of grapes used for red juice is in the skins and must be extracted by heat.
Only fully ripe, sound clean fruit must be used. Wash and destem grapes, crush fruit, and heat in a pot to 140 to 145 degrees. Hold at this temperature until fruit is soft (about 7 to 10 minutes). Press juice from hot grapes and if desired, blend this juice with the juice from other grapes pressed cold.
The blend of hot and cold-pressed grape juice gives a more pleasing product in color, flavor and aroma than can be obtained from all cold-pressed juice.
Allow juice to stand in the refrigerator overnight. Tartaric acid crystals and dregs settle to the bottom and the clear juice can be poured off. Add ¼ cup of sugar for each quart of juice and mix well.
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Revised on September 3, 2012