Fall is Time for Jelly Making!

I’m back in the loop again, it seems. My daughter is much better from being so sick for a few weeks, and my computer is back functional after taking a “break” of its own without permission from me. Now on to my post.

I feel rich lately. Not with money or possessions, but with family heritage and culture. At the end of summer through early fall, I just really look forward to making wild fruit jelly and syrup. In the spring, we always had plenty of dewberry vines where I grew up. Mama, my brother, Joey, and I picked enough for dewberry pies, and for jelly making, too. Later in the year we knew where to look for muscadine vines climbing a tree in the edge of the woods. They have a distinct sweet musky flavor to me. We used those for jelly, and Mama used some of them to make a dessert called Muscadine Roll. It’s much like a fruit pastry, and it’s still one of my very favorite treats. I made some jelly with them one year that didn’t set like it should for jelly, and was more like a thick syrup. When I poured some on my pancakes, I decided that I really love Muscadine Syrup, so I have been making some whenever I have enough to do so.

I remember when Daddy first showed my brother and I a Possum Grape vine. We had never even heard of it, so we were intrigued with the idea of possums hanging upside down eating those small clusters of wild grapes. I don’t know if they really do. I’m pretty sure Daddy said he didn’t know either, but that is what those are called.  They grow in small loose clusters, and have a sweet taste much like domestic purple grapes. Since grape is my daughter’s favorite jelly flavor, Possum Grape is her favorite native grape jelly flavor.

At some point someone gave us a Scuppernong vine, which is like a golden green color, and originates from Japan. They taste a lot like Muscadines. They are a little more tart to me but are used in the same way. I have a delicious recipe for Scupernong Bread that I got from a lady in our community. It’s really great with coffee or tea.

We have a Mulberry tree, but they have more seeds than juice, so I’ll let the birds have those for the most part. After I was married, we discovered we have Huckleberry Bushes behind our house. I had heard of them, but never had seen them. They have a good flavor, but are so small, I haven’t tried to do anything with them. We also have a wild cherry tree at the end of our yard. They are also edible, but are very small. We have enjoyed watching raccoons, deer, and squirrels enjoy the cherries, so I think we’ll let them have that tree to themselves.

My husband and I have taught our children about the wild edibles that we know of, along with our families’ cultures. I feel like we’ve passed down a rich legacy to them, that I hope they can in turn pass on to their children on day. It sounds really simple to be called a legacy, but that’s what it is to me. Besides all the good eats, we have all the great memories to mull over from time to time. Those memories are a great reminder to me that sometimes the greatest legacies are about the simplest things in life which are very important foundations.

Have a very blessed week and upcoming weekend.

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