Fox Grapes – Vitis labrusca

Wine Grapes on the Vine
Wine Grapes on the Vine

What tree may not the fig be gathered from?

The grape may not be gathered from the birch?

It’s all you know the grape, or know the birch…

– Robert Frost, Wild Grape

 

 

Notable varieties of fox grapes are Concord, Catawba, Delaware, Niagara, Isabella and Ives. They are all native to North America. The early settlers to this continent found these grapes to be very different in scent and taste from what they were used to in European grapes. They described this musky difference as ‘foxy.’ These varieties have the most notable aromas of all wine grapes, being unique in an earthy, sweet, musky way. Scientist isolated the aroma compound, methyl anthranilate, in the 1920s.

Vitis labrusca is found growing wild from Maine to the South Carolina Piedmont, west to Tennessee. But in cultivation most of the Concord variety is grown in New York and its surrounding states.

The fruit is used for food as jam, jelly, dried as raisins, juice, and especially wines! The leaves are steamed and used to wrap foods for cooking, being popular in Greek cooking. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten as greens. Also the leaves produce a yellow dye either in fresh or dried form.

An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhea, hepatitis, stomachaches, fevers, headaches, and thrush. Externally, the leaves are poulticed and applied to sore breasts, rheumatic joints, and headaches. The wilted leaves have been applied as a poultice to the breasts to draw away soreness after the birth of a child. An infusion of the bark has been used to treat urinary complaints

In magic use grapes have been utilized for prosperity spells and fertility charms. To increase fertility hang a grape vine wreath above your bed. To increase prosperity hang the grape vine wreath in the kitchen or place silver coins around a bunch of grapes, visualize money flowing into your hands as you hold your hands above the coins and grapes. Then eat the grapes!

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