Most likely, you’ve never heard of a Muscadine grape until you came upon this article. In the wine world, the muscadine grape is often looked down upon as an outcast, a joke, or an imposter. But if you look deeper and explore a bit more, you might be surprised by what this grape has to offer. Many people would bed shocked to know it is a very important grape, not just in making wine, but also in the history of the United States. Keep reading for more information about this unique grape.
A Brief History on Muscadine Grapes
Let’s start with a short lesson in history and science. Most of the wines we drink today, like Cabernet, Merlot, and Chardonnay, come from Mediterranean grapevines of the species Vitis vinifera. When Spanish and French explorers came to America, another type of vine called Vitis Rotundifolia, or muscadine, was growing everywhere.
Muscadine grapes are native to the United States and were first documented in the mid-1500s. Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have discovered the grape during one of his explorations, and Muscadine grapes are some of the first native grapes to be cultivated in the United States. Today these grapes can be found growing in the wild and are also cultivated for specialty markets in the United States.
Muscadine grapes are large in size and round to oblong in shape, averaging 2-4 centimeters in diameter and grow in loose clusters. The grapes resemble small, round plums and the smooth, glossy skin is thick, tough, and ranges in color from green when immature to bronze, dark purple, to almost black when ripe. Muscadine grapes are a slip-skin variety, which means the skins can easily be removed from the flesh without damaging it. The green, translucent flesh is juicy, and there are 1-5 large seeds encased in the center. The grapes are very sweet with a musky scent and flavor, and the skin is tart or slightly bitter in flavor have 150 different varieties.
What Makes Muscadine Grapes Different?
They Are Resistant to Pest and Diseases
The tiny insect Phylloxera has done a lot of damage to Vitis vinifera grapevines through the years. The bug eats the plant and spreads fungus, which almost always kills the vines at the roots. In the 1800s, a disease spread across Europe and destroyed the wine business. This has left growers and winemakers vulnerable to this day. Muscadine, on the other hand, has changed so that it leaves behind a sticky substance that protects it from most microbes in the environment and keeps pests away. This has gotten the attention of American winemakers, who have used Muscadine rootstock to help grow their otherwise traditional Vitis vinifera vines.
It Grows In Hot and Humid Climates
Most of the time, grapes grow best in cool, dry places. There are exceptions to this rule, as some grapes grow best in warmer climates (such as Verdelho). Muscadine is special, though, because it grows well in a place where almost no other grapes can: where it is hot and wet. Muscadine grows all over the southern part of the United States. In fact, it is the only kind of grape that can grow in this area. However, this clever grape is very adaptable. It grows as far north as Delaware, which is much cooler, and as far west as Texas, which is much drier. Muscadine grows in hot, humid places, so its quality and amount of sugar can change from season to season. The lack of cooler temperatures also makes the grapes less acidic.
Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes
High In Antioxidants
Packed with antioxidants, the skin of muscadine grapes has six to eight times more antioxidants than a whole blueberry. Most grapes are known for having a lot of antioxidants, but a muscadine has the most because it has a lot of phenols.
High Fiber Content
Muscadine grapes have a lot of fiber in their thick skin. Twenty red grapes have 5 grams of fiber, which is four times as much as the same number of green grapes. So, these grapes can give you the recommended amount of dietary fibers. Fiber also helps keep the gut and digestive system healthy because it makes stools bulkier and makes it easier for food to move through the stomach and intestines. High-fiber diets can help people with high cholesterol and those who are at risk for diabetes. Fibers can make you feel full for longer, which can help keep you from gaining weight.
Help Prevent Diabetes
Muscadine grapes can help lower the chance of getting diabetes. Research has also shown that muscadine grapes or muscadine supplements can help people with type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar and raising good cholesterol.
The body uses antioxidants to kill free radicals so that this can happen. But as people get older, their bodies make less antioxidants, which hurts the skin. Also, collagen and tiny blood vessels in the skin start to break down over time. This reduces the number of nutrients that get to the skin, which causes wrinkles and older-looking skin. The small blood vessels that move nutrients between the blood and the tissues are called micro-capillaries. By keeping these capillaries flexible, antioxidants can make them stronger. Since muscadine grapes are full of antioxidants, they can be very helpful for keeping your skin healthy and looking young.
Increase Mental Function/Cognition
As we get older, it’s very important to keep our minds in good shape. Oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals, is one of the things that makes the brain age and can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Antioxidants in muscadine grapes and seeds can slow down the aging process, which makes people live longer. It has been said ,that eating muscadine grapes and living a healthy lifestyle can add ten years to your life.
Improve your heart, health and skin with Quality Muscadine Supplements
Muscadine grapes are a tasty fruit that is also good for your health in many ways. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help improve the health of your skin, brain, and heart, and help you feel better overall. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, you might want to try muscadine grapes. If you can’t find them at your local produce stand or just don’t like the taste, you can always order muscadine health supplements like Muscadine Naturals. For over 17 years, we have brought the world a superior all natural dietary supplement with YOUR health in mind. Visit our website and order your supplements today.