Muscadine Grapes in North Carolina (History, Health Benefits, and 26 Great Farms to Pick Them!)

Last Updated on April 13, 2021

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Muscadine grapes are North Carolina’s state fruit, and did you know that there so many different ways to enjoy them? From wine to jelly, these little spheres pack a punch beyond the country songs that made them famous.

With huge health benefits including cancer-blocking properties and lowering cholesterol, there are so many reasons you should love muscadine grapes. Aside from enjoying a glass of wine, picking muscadine grapes is also a great family-friendly fall activity in North Carolina!

This article will detail the history, health benefits, and 26 farms where you can pick muscadine grapes in North Carolina.

This post is part of our series on the best things to do in North Carolina, with a specific emphasis on our most famous foods.

History of Muscadine Grapes

Muscadine Grapes come in all shapes and sizes, as you'll feel when picking them.

When European explorers landed in 1584, they saw a land that was overflowing with grapes. The “Mother Vine” of muscadine grapes can be found on Roanoke Island in The Outer Banks.

Believed to be over four centuries old, this vine is still growing today and remains a mystery. The Mothervine has a trunk that is two feet thick and expands over half an acre is believed to be the oldest grapevine in North Carolina.

You can visit the Mothervine as long as you remember that it does sit on private property. It is visible from the side of Mother Vineyard Road.

Muscadine or Scuppernong?

Muscadine grapes in NC

Is it muscadine or scuppernong? Well, it’s both.

Muscadine is a variety of scuppernong and is considered a wild grape of North Carolina. Still found today in the wild, the muscadine grape actually thrives on the warm, southern heat.

There are several varieties of muscadine grapes that grow in North Carolina, but the ones that make the best wine often come from the Carlos and Noble varieties. These grapes produce a lot of juice that makes for great wine.

Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes

scuppernong grapes

Muscadine grapes are packed full of antioxidants, which is just another reason to eat them! Most of these nutrients are found in the skin and seeds, which most people throw away.

But don’t fret! You can still reap some benefits through the flesh.

They are fat-free, high in fiber, and high in antioxidants that have anticarcinogenic properties (resveratrol). These little fruits also help lower cholesterol.

As research continues, many want to bottle up the muscadine grapes and sell them because the antioxidants are so plentiful. Muscadines are the only grape that produces resveratrol in the seed, and scientists have found a way to extract the resveratrol and make it into a pill.

So the next time you are in a health store, look for a bottle!

Flavor and Eating Muscadine Grapes

Using muscadine grapes in North Carolina

Unlike the green grapes you’ll pick up in clamshells at Harris Teeter or Publix, muscadine grapes are “slip-skin” grapes. Instead of popping them in your mouth, the skin is tough and usually gets discarded.

Inside, there are seeds that often get spit out as well. If you do decide to eat the skin (which is totally okay!), you’ll find that it is thicker and a little leathery compared to your typical grape experience.

8 Tips for Picking Muscadine Grapes

where to pick muscadine grapes in NC

As we mentioned at the beginning, picking muscadine grapes is a perfect family-friendly fall activity in North Carolina! But before you go hopping through the vines, we have some tips for you.

  • Make sure to call ahead or check the social media of the farm or vineyard you plan to visit. Sometimes the hours or picking days change based on the weather or ripeness of the grapes.
  • You may also want to ask if you need to bring your own containers.
  • Muscadine grapes aren’t like peaches where they continue to ripen after they’ve been picked. So while you are picking, make sure to grab the grapes that are already ripe.
  • You can tell they are fully ripe when they have a slight squish to them and are not as shiny.
  • Also, the greener the grape the less ripe it is. You are going to want to look for darker and more bronze-like colors when picking from the vine.
  • Muscadine grapes are also easy to pull from the vine when they are fully ripe. Taste a couple as you go, and you’ll see what we mean!
  • When you bring your grapes home, refrigerate them for the best freshness. Just picked grapes will last a week or more in a closed container in the fridge.
  • Freezing them for future recipes is also a possibility!

Muscadine Grapes Recipes

We will be the first people to tell you that we aren’t recipe creators. Thankfully, we know some great content creators who were willing to share their wisdom!

Or you can drink your muscadines as most people prefer! North Carolina is filled with incredible vineyards and wineries that feature muscadine wine.

Where to Pick Muscadine Grapes (25 Farms in NC)

muscadine grape picking in NC
Picking Grapes at Hazy Red Vineyard in Statesville, NC

The muscadine grape growing season in North Carolina lasts from August until early October. Picking muscadine grapes is really affordable and, like apple picking in North Carolina, is a great fall family activity.

Here is a list of 26 farms where you can pick muscadine grapes along with links to their websites or social media pages if available (check our map of these places if you’d like to plug them into your phone or GPS):

Our Map of Where to Pick Muscadine Grapes in NC Created via Google Maps

Where Will You Go Pick and Enjoy Muscadine Grapes?

muscadine picking in NC vineyard

We hope to make it out to at least a few farms to pick muscadines in North Carolina. They are just so tasty and healthy, too! Have you ever gone out to pick muscadines or bought them from a market or store?

Let us know about your experiences and your favorite places to visit. If you haven’t made it out there yet, we’d love to know where you’re going first to experience muscadine grapes in person!

Tell us all about it afterward here in the comments and feel free to share your favorite muscadine grape farm photos in our Facebook Group!

More North Carolina Food to Dig Into

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