Muscadines and Scuppernongs!
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make muscadine jelly? Better yet, have you ever wondered what it takes for a muscadine to reach harvest? The process of preparing that sticky goodness that goes on your toast in the morning is about to take place in the kitchens of many southerners very soon. As we start to go into this time of harvest, let's discuss how the muscadine grape reaches this point.
Now, many farms will have different varieties of muscadines, grapes and scuppernongs. This variation can cause the size, taste, and time of harvest to be slightly different. The varieties of muscadines that can be found at Futral Farms are known as Supreme, Dixie Red, Darlene, Sweet Jenny, and Late Fry.
When we planted these, in 2016, they started off as a "bare root", and with the proper care they became taller and full of buds which then turned into beautiful vines. Now these vines have matured and are bearing fruit! The proper care and maintenance for muscadine grape vines is an important step to making sure you are getting the most out of your plant. Proper care can include choosing the right insecticides, correct sun exposure, watering and even inspecting your fruit as it is growing. Inspection can be a good indication that the fruit is getting the right nutrients it needs to grow and later be used to make jelly. Muscadines will usually need to be harvested between late August to early October, depending on where your farm is located.
Now, for the fun part--How muscadine grapes are formed! A bundle of muscadines will actually start off as a bunch of flowers. Pollen grains will then land on the flowers and cause pollination. Unlike the table grapes which are known for being self-pollinators, muscadine varieties rely on each other to achieve cross-pollination. To achieve this, Futral Farm’s has selected different varieties of muscadines which they know will work together for this specific purpose. Once these flowers are pollinated, the pollen grains will germinate, and this will set the flower up for the fertilization process. After fertilization occurs, the muscadines will move into the "fruit set" stage, which can be described as the muscadine grape growing into its desired shape, color, and texture. Once you see that your fruit has reached the desired shape, color, and texture, it is now time to harvest! When it is time to harvest, don't forget to wrangle up your grandkids and send them outside with some buckets (leftover Cool Whip buckets work great!).
I hope you have enjoyed the little biology lesson we shared with you today!
What is your favorite recipe for muscadines? Comment! We would love to hear your feedback!
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