AskDefine | Define scuppernong

Dictionary Definition

scuppernong n : amber-green muscadine grape of southeastern United States

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A green grape grown in North Carolina.

Extensive Definition

A scuppernong is a large type of muscadine, a type of grape native to the southeastern United States. It usually has a greenish or bronze color, and is similar in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and about 50% larger.
The name comes from the Scuppernong River in North Carolina, where it was found and first cultivated during the 17th century. The name itself traces back to the Algonquian word ascopo meaning "sweet bay tree".
The fruit consists of four parts: the outer skin or hull; the pulp, or 'meat'; seeds; and juice.
Several small green seeds are found in each grape. The skin is very thick and tart. The pulp is viscous and sweet. The seeds, which are bitter, can be swallowed with the pulp or extracted and spit out. The most desired part of the scuppernong is the sweet juice that lies underneath its skin.
Scuppernongs figure prominently in the story "The Goophered Grapevine" (1887) by Charles W. Chesnutt, and are also mentioned in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The scuppernong also figures prominently in William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom! as the plant under which Colonel Thomas Sutpen and Washington Jones sit down to drink.
The winter will be short, the summer long, The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, Tasting of cider and of scuppernong;
Elinor Wylie, from Wild Peaches, Nets to Catch the Wind (1921)
In addition, according to herbal lore, eating this whole grape also has health benefits. The hull adds a significant amount of fiber to the diet; while the seeds when chewed provide a grape-seed extract that can aid in improving memory and other functions. While no scientific validation of this fact is availalble, it still makes for another good excuse to enjoy this truly Southern delicacy.
Wines, jellies and jams can also be made from scuppernongs. It is thought they were the first native grape to be cultivated for these purposes.
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