When I started this blog post the plan was to give a very brief history of muscadine grapes, their health benefits, and their history. One wiki search later and I quickly realized, “oh man, there is a lot to learn, and love, about these medium-sized, funny textured grapes!” So, where to start?
“Of the bounteous store of natural gifts… upon the soil of North Carolina few have been more celebrated than the muscadine grape…” Discovered (not really as it was already growing in nature) in 1755, the muscadine grape (commonly referred to as a scuppernong) was first cultivated in North Carolina. Much less common than your typical market grapes, muscadine grapes offer a wealth of nutrition from bowel regulating (think fiber), to weight management (think fiber again), and rich in antioxidants. “One study… found that muscadines are a particularly good source of ellagic acid…. appears to inhibit cancer cell reproduction… Muscadine grapes also contain twice as much vitamin C as seedless grapes.”
The thing I didn’t know when choosing the ingredients for this recipe (I just liked the sound of it) was that both the parsnip and the parsley root are winter vegetables whose edible part develops underground. While similar in look, yet quite different in taste and smell (I kind of detest the smell of parsnips), the parsnip and parsley root are both members of the Umbelliferae family. The Umbelliferae family also includes carrots, celery, parsley, chervil, fennel, and celeriac. The melange of these two ingredients came from the idea that the fresh bitter flavor of parsley would “balance” the sweetish and nutty tastes of parsnips. Furthermore, I figured adding whole black peppercorns would only intensify the slightly peppery flavor or parsley leafs. With the hopes of cutting the chewy center of the parsnips, I decided to coin the parsnips instead of pickling sticks. Try these parsley pickled parsnips with any European or Mediterranean dish. Enjoy!