A grape time was had

4 Apr 2008


Today didn't turn out at all as I had planned.
Instead of baking and stewing some apples that were getting a bit sorry we harvested the grapes.

I was so impressed.
We didn't ever plant our grape vines, they were here, both of them when we moved in. One on each side of the garden.
Each year they produce a little fruit that is generally attacked by wasps or eaten by the birds. What can be salvaged had in past years been picked by whatever young soul has a whim to and turned into a very coarse, rudimentary grape juice.
Grapes were squashed on the outside table mixed messily with vast amounts of sugar and then gulped down or, if too tart, tossed on the garden.

This year however - prepare to be impressed - we harvested about 15 kilos of fruit.
The long warm, dry summer had worked its magic on the vines and produced a bumper crop.

What ever do you do with all those grapes????
The lighter coloured ones are great for eating so that's 3 kilos taken care of. A small portion , maybe 2 kilos of the darker ones are tasty and the rest are too tart to eat.

So we juiced some , we poached and collected the juice of another lot and we are in the process of drying some small but perfect bunches to see if we can get sultanas or something similar.

I consulted the CWA ( Country Women's Association) book, the Margaret Fulton book, The Harvest Pantry book and we did our best.

The juice from the juicer we sweetened and it now seems to be a refreshing cordial. With the other juice from the poached fruit I'm hoping to make some kind of syrup . I do have a very interesting recipe from Stephanie Alexander ( Stephanie's Seasons) for a Greek dessert that mixes almonds, semolina and grape juice and sounds really yummy so I will try that I think. I also have a recipe for Grape juice ice cream.

It took the better part of the day to deal with our little harvest, the boys and I got very, very sticky and so did most of the kitchen.
It was great fun trying to figure out the best way of doing things.
If we continue to have good crops I guess we will have a more streamlined approach and a better idea of what to use the grapes for.


15 Responses to “A grape time was had”

  1. Oh, wow! They are beautiful, those grapes!

  2. We ended up with bushels of grapes last year that someone let us come pick on their property. We made grape juice and grape jelly with them. There is nothing better than the sweet smell of grapes, fresh off the vine!

  3. My mom always made jelly with her grapes.

  4. Those look like the common-in-the-past American grape, Concord. When I was a girl in Indiana (midwestern USA), church potlucks in September featured grape pie. It was kind of fiddly to make. You slipped the skins, sieved, sweetened and thickened the pulp, added the skins back in and baked all in a pie shell. Delicious!

  5. Oh Jen, how blessed was your crop of grapes. They are expensive here. I rarely buy them, but we do love them as a treat.


  6. Congratulations on the impressive harvest!
    I have made grape jam before, and it is quite good. Leave the skins in (separating them out calls for more patience than I have) and I used pectin to get it to set up properly.

  7. Wow! What a bumper crop! You had lots of great ideas for using them too...I think I would have been overwhelmed and given most of them away to my family and neighbours...I would have never thought of making cordial!

  8. Your grapes look so appealing! Keep us posted on how you saved the harvest. Fresh grape juice sounds wonderful. Last September, our orchard that had not been producing much produced a bountiful supply of apples! I froze some, but mainly I made quarts and quarts of apples sauce! I don't know how many pounds we harvested, but I canned about 90 quarts.

  9. Hi Jenny :) How wonderful! Here's an idea for you...

    My dad and mom grew grapes for a while and canned them all into juice. They mixed the white and red ones - even canning some hulls into the jars. It made the most beautiful pink juice!

    I used lots of the juice on my tea tables in tiny, elegant, crystal glasses beside the china tea cups. It was a lovely and delicious addition to our tea celebrations (twenty-five or so parties each year).

    Love to you! Q

  10. That is an amazing harvest Jenny. I hope all your efforts have you enjoying the results for a long time to come!

  11. Jenny,
    Perhaps you never saw my comment from yesterday on "The Little Apron" post, but I highlighted that post on my blog. Just letting you know if you wish to stop by.
    The Simple Woman

  12. Wow! You are so blessed!

    We would have had a feast. Wish you could send some our way...

  13. What a fine harvest of grapes!
    And a truly beautiful picture.


  14. Lovely.

    I would make some jelly to be sure!


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