Saturday, October 12, 2013

Muscadine Syrup

We are solidly in fall and, more importantly, fall TV. Scandal turned me inside out, The Mindy Project  and New Girl make me giggle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine is pleasantly surprising me. I should probably be a little ashamed of how much TV programming I watch, but I'm just gonna own it. I'm much more apt to binge-watch a new show than watch a couple of movies, even if they take the same amount of my time. I just... I like short-form media. Is that a thing or did I just make it up? (I totally made it up.)

I did not make up muscadines. They are beautiful Southern grapes. With very large seeds. And they make some sweet, sweet wine. Not that I know anything about that.

I do know about the beautiful syrup they make. 

It couldn't be easier. Muscadines, a little sugar, and some allspice. 

Break down the muscadines in a pot with a little water. I used a hefty wooden spoon and a potato masher alternately. I think they both work just fine. The skins are thicker than on your average grocery store grape, so it can take a little work. Bring the muscadines and water to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.

Strain the juice from the solids with a fine mesh strainer. This is a good time to use that wooden spoon or potato masher to get all the grape-y goodness.

It's a beautiful, fragrant juice, and you could stop here if juice is all you want.

But me? I want syrup. So in goes the little bit of sugar and the allspice. The allspice isn't strictly necessary, but I love the warm feeling it gives me. Return the juice mixture to the pot you used earlier. Bring it to a boil then turn the heat down and let it reduce by about half. 

It thickens a little as it cools, and you're left with a sweet, fruity syrup.

It's pretty divine over bleu cheese. I think you can use this just about anywhere you'd use fig preserves. If you made a crostini with goat cheese and walnuts with a drizzle of muscadine syrup...well I could never be mad at that.


Muscadine Syrup (makes about 1/4 cup)

1 lb muscadine grapes
1/3 c water
1 tbs sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp allspice
  • In a medium saucepan, break up muscadines with a wooden spoon. Make sure all the skins are broken. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it go for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Strain the liquid into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer. Get all that juice! 
  • Return the juice to the pot and add the sugar and allspice. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the mixture reduce by about half. Pour into a heat-proof glass or dish to cool.
  • Drizzle over cheeses and serve with crackers. Or heck, mix it into a cocktail!

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