The Truth... What is it?


Historical notes

All South Carolinians are familiar with the childhood excitement of locating the wild grapes of the southern United States (Vitis rotundifolia). Locals have called them "bullis", "bully", and "bullit" grapes. This supposedly derives from the old-French term, bullace...meaning "small plum". However, my cousin (Cathy V. Brown) has pointed out that French Huguenots fled to South Carolina/USA in the very late 1600's and had a word, boule...meaning "ball", possibly accounting for those who call them "bully" grapes.

Those with amber-green color hulls are called scuppernongs; those with purple to black hulls are muscadines.

I was 50 years old before I ever heard of using the skins of these grapes to make a pie. Now, as we eat domestic or wild "scuppernong"/bullace/muscadine grapes, we save the skins in plastic bags and freeze them (if you prefer, you can cook the hulls and freeze). Using a standard pie size, two cups of skins will make a thin but very grapey-tasting pie. More skins will make a thicker fruit layer. This pie is well-known in the "Dutch Fork" area of central South Carolina [west of Columbia], the original settlers (1730-1800) of that area being of German extraction. The recipe is from the late Lallah Lindler Drafts, my mother-in-law.

The Recipe:

  1. Pie crust: use your favorite recipe to make your own pie shell; or use pre-made (we like Pillsbury pre-made refrigerated/frozen soft crusts). Depending on how crunchy you like your pie crust, you may want to at least pre cook the bottom shell in the pie plate.
  2. Cooked fruit contents: using enough water (or natural or "bought" grape juice) to keep hulls from scorching or burning, cook hulls until fork ( or "chewing") tender (you can cook as hard and fast...or as you want, just so long as you don't scorch or burn). Experimenters could add other fruit, too.
  3. Additions needed: remove from heat and add, as you like:
     sweetener, add while hot: we like it sweeter than "natural"...add 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar
     thickener, add after cools a bit: (this will help to sop up the juice and hold it in the pie) gradually stir in one tablespoon of all purpose flour and maybe even a little corn starch if still not thick enough.  
  4. Other: experimenters could add grape jelly, pinches of spices, some crushed Cheez-it crackers, or some nuts (pecans) in the mix. Also, this hull mix could probably be used in my daughter's easy cobbler recipe, HERE.
  5. Baking: dump contents into the bottom shell. The pie top can either be a vented (holes or slices poked in the top crust) crust, lattice-work crust, or buttered (or olive-oiled) crumbled crackers of various types (or bread crumbs, or biscuit crumbs, buttered or oiled). Bake 325-375 degrees F. until brown.

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(posted: Sept 2000; latest update 15 March 2015)