The other day, I walked around a small oak tree on our farm and this is the delicious and unexpected sight that greeted me. I believe these are fox grapes, the wild progenitor of today's concord grapes. The sweet tart flavor of these grapes was amazing, far better than the taste of any store bought grapes that I have had.
We have many native grape species in the Southeast in addition to the fox grape. These include, opossum grape, summer grape, frost grape sand grape, catbird grape, and winter grape.
Regardless of the species, purple grapes like these get their color from antioxidants known as polyphenols. These chemicals, including reversatrol, are currently being studied by western medicine for their potential in fighting cancer and high blood pressure, stimulating blood flow to the brain, fighting infection, and reversing some of the indicators of diabetes. Now is a great opportunity to go find some of these indigenous delicacies. Muscadine season is only a few weeks away.
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