Monday, October 6, 2014

A Bounty of Grapes

We have a plethora of grape vines on the property that have been here far longer than any of us.  We are not nice to them.  We cut them, mow them down, pull them out and year after year, they come back.

Like it's their job.

Every September, it smells like a Welch's grape juice factory as the grapes ripen and fall down or the racoons and possums get them and shake them down.

The entrance to the outdoor shower is a carpet of smooshed grapes, stinking like a winery.

Every year, I say I should make grape jelly.  But I don't really like grape jelly, so I've never really acted on that.

A couple of years ago, I was sure I was going to make some jelly and the night before I was planning to do it, a little 4 pawed bandit had a grand old time and shook them all over creation and my plans were dashed.

After my fabulous blackberry jelly making venture this summer, I decided this would be the year I would tackle the grapes and make some jelly.  Or jam.

Because when life gives you more grapes than you can handle, you better pick them and do something with them.

About a month ago, I went out to pick some tomatoes from the garden and ended up with 2 quarts of grapes instead.  I read about how to make grape jam, which was simpler than grape jelly because the skins are involved and no pectin is necessary- I'm not sure what pectin is and I'd rather not add it if I don't have to- so even though it was a school  night, I gave it a whirl.

First, you separate the pulp from the skins and cook them separately.  When everything is soft, you put the pulp through my favorite device- THE FOOD MILL!
It keeps the seeds a some of the tougher pulp out of the mix.  Then you add in the skins and cook it for about 15 minutes.
Look how gorgeous!  It smells so amazing when this comes together and truly smells like grape jelly.

The taste is far beyond the taste of the typical grape jelly I've had before.  This has some substance to it because the skins are in it.

When I made the first batch, I made 7 half pint jars and thought we'd never use it.  Then I started adding a little to plain greek yogurt and OMG, 2 jars later, I realized that I better make some more if I want it to last!

These grapes are so plentiful this year that even a month later, I was able to pick plenty to make another batch and this one came out just as beautifully and actually make a little extra.

I'm not sure why grape yogurt is never an option.  You see every flavor imaginable but no one ever puts grape in there.  It's fantastic and I haven't tired of it yet!

15 jars later and maybe it'll  be a different story!

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