Friday, September 16, 2011

SCUPPERNONGS

I didn't think to try get a photo til I had them bagged for the freezer.  This is a peek down into the Ziploc.

We stopped at a wonderful little roadside market-stand on the way back from Georgia last Sunday---the bright yellow boards and the crookedy signs of "HOT BOILED PEANUTS" and "GEORGIA PEACHES" beckoned us in, and we browsed the still-hot aisles perfumed with all sorts of vegetables---the shucky snap of crisp corn, the dry rustly scent of net-bagged peanuts, the sharp, thickety sweet of the scuppernongs and musky-dines.   (I had to say it, just once).

We got pale-rosy plums, fat with sweet pulp, and two enormous sweet potatoes, big as kids' footballs (I baked one last night, and it served all four of us, sliced into soft-slumpy golden rounds and topped with butter and brown sugar).    

Chris asked the yearly question:  "Do you have any GREEN peanuts?"    And we seem to be early or late, every time, settling for the dry heft of a couple of the orange-net bags.    He'll put a big boiling on in the huge new stainless crockpot in Caro's kitchen one of these mornings, and they'll simmer all day, so he'll have quite a few bags for the freezer to nuke for a quick snack any time.  (moire non re: that one bag I open and crack for him as he drives, every time we head home with our bounty). 

I browsed the jellies and jams and relishes---almost choosing the hot pickles, the pickled okra, the moonshine jelly, just for the lark of it.   But I just made a big batch of the hotsy-totsies, there's still some okra from last year in the fridge, and neither of us is partial to 'shine, especially not to the ruination of a perfectly good Cathead biscuit.

I selected a clear green hot pepper jelly, for nibbles with crackers and cream cheese, while he hand-sacked six pounds of scuppernongs for jelly-making.    Scups are the paler, thicket-cousin of the muscadine---like lightly-bronzed grapes.   Their thick skins are gently veined with the pale, Braillish lace of a cantaloupe, and will pop right off with a squeeze, leaving the round innards intact like the famous "peeled grapes" of movie-vamp and small-town Halloween House fame.   

I washed these and put them in the freezer soon as we got home, for they tend to brew their own liquor  and draw every gnat between here and Memphis, if left in the bag very long.   They will be cooked off, run through Mammaw's "jelly cone" to get that tang-stronger-than-Concord into the juice.   Then the juice will be strained and cut with just a little white-grape juice for the jelly-making.    

It's been in the Forties-to-Sixties here since we got home, and just the having of these familiar old Southern Scuppernongs has left the lingering fragrance of Fall in the house .

7 comments:

Bev said...

Scuppernongs..thought you were swearing there for a minute..all sounds great Rachel..MUST GO TO THE SOUTHERN USA.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
All of this sounds both magical and delicious. This time of the year, although it means farewell to summer, really does have so much in the way of compensation.

Have a lovely and relaxing weekend.

steelersandstartrek said...

Does Caro put up as well? My mother does, like it's a religious requirement. Doing so is on my list of things I wanna do eventually, along with lose weight, plant a garden, read Tolstoy, and grow my hair back. But younger folks I work with stare at me blankly when I speak longingly of homemade jellies, sauces, and fresh veggies frozen for the winter. Their reaction ranges from "that's what stores are for" to the more common "I eat in restaurants."

But summer memories for me are inseperable from the 300 degree kitchen and the boiling jars, the careful arrangement inside the glass of the beans or baby corn for the Fair submission and the frustration with the jar lids that decided not to seal for whatever reason.

There was nothing like the taste of a fresh-open jar of that strawberry jam in January!

Chesapeake said...

Aw, if you could have just come home via Chesapeake, we would have let you have the privilege of picking some scuppernongs, from whence Chris' wine comes. And some blue muscadines, the Nobles. And okra, and pimientos. And oh, by the way, can one make paminna cheese with green pimientos? Inquiring minds want to know!

Kim Shook said...

OK, y'all, I just finished breakfast and now I'm hungry again! It all sounds so lovely. I have done just a little canning and really enjoy it. Both the doing and the having. We are lucky to live in the age of air conditioning - when I can, I just crank it up!

Chessie - I would think that you could certainly make paminna cheese with green pimientos. I sometimes do it with green olives when I have a hankering and don't have any of those teency jars!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

It all sounds so wonderful. I would love to visit Georgia again. My son and his wife are headed out there for a few weeks on vacation. They close the bakery and put a sign in the window. My eldest daughter (of four girls) lives Laurenceville and Granddaughter in Winder GA. Perhaps some day. I hope so.
It just sounded so nice to drive and stop at a roadside stand. We so seldom see that out here.

No real signs of Fall yet. Only for a day or so...and then back to 90 degree heat and higher. I hope we get another break soon.
A ROADSIDE stand... *sigh*

Jeanne said...

Hello Rachel, I have been in Fl and you have been in GA. Not much visiting and I have missed you. I have to tell ya, you talk about food I have never heard of. However, it sure makes me want to know it intimately. Mmmmmmm, that Southern cooking turns me on. Oh yeah! Tell me more about it. HA! re: Scuppernongs, hotsy-totsies and 'green' peanuts???

Welcome home,
Love, Jeanne