Down at the Marion Square Market yesterday, I found tray after tray of muscadines for sale. This grape variety--often called scuppernongs, after one of the more popular varieties--is native to the Southern U.S. They start to ripen around the end of August and will be available until October.
The color of muscadines range from a bronzy green to deep purple. They are something of an acquired taste, it seems, and I can see why. The skins are very firm and have a bitter taste to them, but the inner flesh is very soft and sweet. When you pop one into you mouth, you have get crispiness and softness, bitterness and sweetness, all in the same bite. Eating muscadines always takes me back to my young childhood in Great Falls, SC, where some of my father's friends grew them out on their farmland and we would eat them fresh from the vines. They're a true Southern treat and won't be available for long.