Florida’s native grape, the muscadine, is known to be Juicy and sweet. However, due to its leathery, thick skin and bitter seeds, the grape is typically reserved for specialty stores and wine making.
However, some consider these grapes a superfood, packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The challenge was getting consumers to accept the fruit-leather-like skin, which contains most of the superfood properties. At least that was until researchers thought outside the peel.
Now, researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have found a way to make the muscadine grape highly palatable by freeze-drying them. Ali Sarkhosh, associate professor of horticultural sciences: “Muscadines are much more nutritious than the common grape. It’s unfortunate that more people don’t give the peel a chance because the peel is actually the most nutritious part.”
By freeze-drying the muscadine grapes, the flesh and skin become soft and light like a foam peanut, and they have a delightful crunch and melt in your mouth. The taste is light and crisp, with a sweet-and-sour tartness. The grapes also become shelf-stable, which allows for longer-term storage and portability.