Mustang or Muscadine? Who’s Eating This Grape?

| October 8, 2014

mustang grapes muscadine grapes texas grapes texas foraging

muscadine grape mustang grape jellyI, for one, love Texas wild grape jelly. My parents have been harvesting wild mustang grapes for decades, and making fresh batches of jelly every year. Want some? Even if you don’t need any more, chances are you’ll go home with a jar or two.

Since they moved away from Bastrop, Texas, and to the Houston suburbs, a topic that comes up this time of year is – where to find grapes. I always thought there was no difference between mustang and muscadine grapes. Turns out there is. And this knowledge comes after planting three vines (I bought in Houston last year) in my back yard. Two survive, one a uni-sex, and one unknown sex muscadine. I planted them assuming they would produce the mustang grapes I was accustomed to, even though the nursery called them muscadine.

Turns out a mustang is a mustang, and a muscadine is a muscadine. And I have the jelly to prove it.

The muscadine is a lighter colored grape, more of a red, and a larger grape that produces a jelly the color of a fine red wind. The mustang, on the other hand, is darker, smaller and deep purple more than red.

No matter what, you will never forget picking one off the vine and taking a bite – don’t do it. I have picked a sharecrop of mustangs, and the acidity is enough to burn the ungloved hand. That’s why these wild grape jelly recipes rely on sugar – by the pound!

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Category: Complimentary Reading, Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, Science and Environmental

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