Herbs & Plants,  Nutrition

America’s Last Remaining Indigenous Grape.

Saturday morning is one of the best times of the week for me.  It’s when I go to the farmers market and partake in all the goodness the market has to offer.  Every week it’s seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic grass fed meats, fresh fish, homemade baked goods and the list goes on.  But the best part of going to the market is always the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences which is what happened on this particular Saturday.

Backstory

To give you a little backstory, I recently moved to North Carolina from the southern part of New Jersey.  I  knew one of the things I would miss by moving would be the farmers markets filled with Jersey produce.  A little fact about NJ.  New Jersey is known for their agriculture.  There’s Jersey tomatoes, Jersey corn, Jersey blueberries just to name a few.   But since moving to North Carolina I haven’t missed a beat.  I have thoroughly enjoyed going to the farmers markets here.  I’ve had amazing watermelon, cantaloupe, the best blackberries I’ve ever had, sweet peaches and discovered a fruit I’ve never heard of before…Muscadine Grapes!

I tried a muscadine grape a few Saturdays ago when I was at the farmers market.  They were being sampled out to people walking by.  I had never seen grapes so big before!  When I tried the grape it burst in my mouth and tasted like candy.  My bag came out quickly to grab some to take home with me.  I was told the season for the muscadine grape was a short season.  So I made a note to come back the following Saturday to get more.

The Farmers Market Encounter

So today at the farmers market looking at how beautiful the muscadine grapes looked, I decided to take a picture of them.  An older gentleman with a full head of gray hair, wearing glasses was looking at me.  With a Swedish or Norwegian accent he said, “Don’t take a picture of them, eat them!”  I laughed and told him that I just found out about muscadine grapes a couple of weeks ago.  I told him how much I loved them.  While we both picked our grapes we had a wonderful 10 minute conversation which included talk of muscadine grapes.

The Conversation

He told me muscadine grapes are the only natural indigenous American grapes left.   When I told him that I normally spit out the seeds when I eat them, he very firmly told me not to do that.  He told me the skin and seeds are the most beneficial part of the fruit.  He also said the darker the grape the better, at which I giggled thinking about the old adage of  “the darker the berry, the sweeter the fruit, which really seems to be true when it comes to fruit and even vegetables.  Most light colored or white produce tend to hardly have any nutritional value but more of that I will write about on a later date.

The gray haired gentleman proceeded to tell me how he freezes the grapes and when he wants a boost for his immune system he throws them in the blender, seed and all.   Towards the end of our conversation I found out his age was 79 years old and he looked no older than 65!  We said our goodbyes with him telling me to look up muscadine grapes on the computer to get more information.   As he walked away with his huge bag of grapes I was filled with so much joy from our interaction and couldn’t wait to go home to look up muscadine grapes and write about them.  Here’s more info below on the best tasting American grapes you’ll ever have!

Muscadine Grapes Points

  • Native to North America.
  • Grown in the Southeastern part of America.
  • Harvest is from the last week of July to Early part of October.
  • Bigger and Rounded than most grapes with a thick skin.
  • Very, very sweet tasting!
  • High levels of antioxidants;  protects cells from free radical damage.
  • Contains twice as much vitamin C than regular grapes.
  • Has ellagic acid; aids in preventing cancer.
  • Contains ethanol extract; anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Has resveratrol; anti-aging properties.
  • Great source of dietary fiber, perfect for weight control.
picture taken from the farmers market 🙂

 

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