Auburn, there is a big push to go towards “crunchy” table grapes with muscadines. More traditional muscadines have very leathery skin, and you eat them like a concord. You eat them by essentially sucking the pulp out the skins. Grapes that have this feature are “slip cover” grapes.
With the newer crunchy the skins are still pretty thick, as are the skins of most muscadines, but not as think. More importantly the skin is brittle rather flexible and leathery. The skins do eventually become flexible when the grape gets ripe enough, but they are nowhere as tough and leathery as normal muscadines when they are in that state.
Another feature the breeders are breeding into table muscadines is firmer, and firmer flesh. The flesh of Lane is supposed to be very firm even when it’s very ripe. Because of these two features, eating muscadines is becoming more like eating vinifera grapes. However, the thickness of the brittle skin lends itself to more of a sense of “crunch”.
In my opinion having crunchy muscadines make them more versatile for cooking and canning. With these new firm / crunchy muscadines you have the option of picking them when they are just shy of being fully ripe, and cutting them in half and popping the seeds out with your knife without it all turning into mush in your hands. You can basically then use them in any fruit recipe that you would use berries or pitted stone fruit. I find the slip cover types easier to work with if I’m juicing them or plan to grind them up to make jam. God bless.