Well, actually they’ve been ripe for at least a couple of weeks now. What are scuplins, you ask? Well, most people probably know them as scuppernongs (mentioned in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird) but in south Alabama they’re much more likely to be called scuplins. In fact, I had never heard the word scuppernong until I read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school.
|Our Scuplin vine came from one that my
grandfather planted in his backyard in the 1970s.
We also have a few wild ones on our property,
but they’re growing too high up in the trees to reach.
Scuppernongs are juicy, thick-skinned, green or bronze colored muscadine grapes that are native to the southeastern United States. They were first mentioned as a “white grape” in a logbook by Florentine explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano in 1524. During the 17th century, scuppernongs began to be cultivated by settlers. In fact, the oldest cultivated grapevine is the 400 year old scuppernong “Mother Vine” on Roanoke Island, NC.
Some of the more common uses of scuppernongs are in the making of jelly, preserves, wine, juice, and syrup. Wine made from the scuppernong was actually a personal favorite of Thomas Jefferson.
|Just picked scuplins.|
With all of those different things that can be made with scuppernongs, my personal favorite will always be eating them right off the vine. I spent many early fall afternoons with my cousins or my grandad picking the fruit and learning the right way to eat them, and of course, us kids would usually end up having a scuplin seed (or skin) spitting contest. Being the youngest, I don’t think I ever won.