Marian Carcache: Scuppernong experiments

Marian Carcache: Scuppernong experiments

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Long before my family had scuppernong arbors in Jernigan, I remember hiding in the one at my great-grandparents’ home in Howard, Ga.  Years later, those childhood memories inspired me to write a short story that I titled “Under the Arbor,” and which was made into an opera. So I am not a stranger to the lovely scuppernong, a variety of muscadine.

Last week, my parents came to visit, bringing with them two containers of scuppernongs from their yard, one bowl of the dark purple tart ones and another bowl of the greenish-brown sweet ones.

Over the years, we’ve made wreaths from the vines for almost every occasion and, for most of my life, Mama made jelly and wine every year from our own arbor. My very favorite scuppernong memory, though, is my grandmother’s scuppernong ice cream and scuppernong peel pie. My cousins preferred peaches, but I always begged her to make scuppernong confections for me.

Today, I ushered in October by trying a variation on both of my grandmother’s desserts. Using Daddy’s “no churn lemon ice cream” recipe, I substituted scuppernong juice for the lemon juice in Daddy’s recipe. Then I added the sugar, heavy cream, and milk. As I write, I am waiting for the creamy concoction to freeze in a metal pan in my freezer.

And then I made a cobbler. After squeezing the juice from the scuppernongs, I saved about a cup of the hulls, throwing away the seeds and pulp, and boiled them with a little water and sugar. I used that mixture in the place of the fruit that is called for in the “one cup cobbler” recipe that’s so popular in the south.

Daddy and Mama are coming to visit again tomorrow. I hope they enjoy my scuppernong experiments!

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