Sweet Carolina muscadines

Nature can be so rewarding at times. Do you ever take notice?

My roomate noticed. He saw we had wild muscadine grapes growing in the trees behind the backyard fence, perfectly ripe for picking. We each filled a small bowl picking these sweet grapes that were growing on vines up in the trees and then snacked on them all weekend. Don't worry, we left plenty for any animals that live back there.

Muscadines are native to North Carolina and other southern states. They are a sweet grape, often used for making wine. Honestly, muscadine wine is too sweet for me, but it can be found in stores all over the country if you'd like to try it. I just prefer munching on the grapes, which takes a bit of effort since you spit out the skins and seeds. The grapes we picked were much smaller than the muscadines I've seen at produce markets.

This isn't the first time we've enjoyed wild fruit this year. Earlier in the summer, my roommate found wild blackberries growing in the woods by his work. He braved the thorns and picked a few to bring home. Nothing beats eating fruit that you know has been treated with nothing except rain water.

If you live in an area like I do with lots of vegetation, keep an eye out for wild edible fruit and at least give it a sample to experience the gifts of nature. You might not even have to look that far if you have a fruit tree in your yard. My roomate is the type who would survive in a Man vs. Wild-type setting, so I'm lucky he can point out when there's something good to eat. Definitely don't try eating fruit if you don't know what it is.

If this is sounding totally impossible, at least enjoy some local fruit when it comes into season where you live by visiting a farmer's market. Fruit always tastes better when you have an opportunity to eat it fresh, whether that's from the wild or the farm. After all, fruit comes from trees and plants, not from trucks.

FoodChel Rogersonfood