Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cherokee or Chickasaw Food

Cherokee or Chickasaw Indian Food
Grape Dumplings.

In the area where I grew up, many people still cooked with Cherokee or Chickasaw Indian recipes. The region of our part of the country is known as the Land of Hanging Grapes because there were vines that were loaded with Possum Grapes, wild purple grapes that matured around frost time each year. My grandmother used a recipe that had been passed down by our ancestors from the Indians that had lived on the Native American Campground site. The recipe was called Wild Possum Grape Dumplings. My daddy and uncles loved them. After the government watershed destroyed the grape vines, Granny learned to use other grape juices. When fresh grapes from the vineyards were not available to make her own juice, she purchased factory canned grape juice. Purchased purple grape juice worked just as well. Today that is what I use. I call the recipe: Grape Dumplings.
Tip: At mealtime, use grape décor with grape designs on plates, linens and centerpieces.
Christians may enjoy talking about grape references in the Bible. They may enjoy talking about how Christ used grape juice or wine as an object lesson in Remembrance of Him. Grape dumplings may be stored in airtight containers and given to shut-ins or neighbors. Discuss the Indian heritage of the dumplings.
Food for Thought:
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land…with cities you didn’t build, wells (water) you didn’t dig, vineyards (grapes) and olive trees you didn’t plant…when you are full, don’t forget the Lord… Deuteronomy 6:10-13 LB

Grape Dumpling Recipe
To make: mix 2 c. plain or self-rising flour* and 1 t. melted butter. If you use plain flour add 2 t. baking powder and ¼ t. salt. Add flour mixture to 1 cup grape juice**. Make into dough. Form balls the size of teaspoons and drop into 4 c. boiling grape juice. Makes approximately 24 balls. Keep the juice boiling and cook until done or about 2-3 minutes. The balls will float to the top. Remove dumplings from pot and place in a serving bowl; test to see if done. After removing cooked dumplings from juice, pour remaining hot juice from pot over top of dumplings. May serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. May top with grape preserves.
* I prefer self-rising flour.
** To make homemade juice: Blend 4 cups of fresh grapes with 1 t. lemon juice. (May use juicer machine). Strain. Add 1 t. honey to sweeten, if desired.
From the Nutritionist: There are over 50 varieties of table grapes. They include the colors of green, red, blue-black. Fresh grapes may be seedless or with seeds. Grapes are high in the nutrients of Vitamin C and A. They have some potassium, other minerals and vitamins. Vitamin C is especially helpful in preventing infections and colds. Drinking grape juice may be helpful with kidney infections. Some studies show that grapes and grape juice may be helpful in preventing cancers and heart diseases. Fresh grapes provide fiber to the diet. Grapes have fructose type carbohydrates. Grape juice should be 100% natural with little or no sugar. Diabetics find grapes beneficial in a low sugar diet. About ¾ cup of fresh grapes provides 90 calories. One cup of juice has around 100-150 calories. Grapes have no cholesterol and no natural sodium. When purchasing fresh grapes, check for blemishes and spoiled grapes. Carefully wash fresh grapes before storing and remove any spoiled grapes. Store in a refrigerated area. Grapes may be eaten as a snack, combined in salads with chicken or in fruit combos, baked with meats, and breads. Grapes and grape juice are refreshing pick-me-up snacks and beverages during the afternoon lag time.

Recipes are available upon request.
Comments and questions are welcomed.
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