Friday, September 4, 2009

Off my groove for the day--Grape Harvest

Yesterday evening I finally got around to harvesting the grapes from my back fence. I should have done this about 2 weeks ago, but with our camping trip and all it just didn't happen.

I started by bringing a big soup pot out there to collect them with. Then after I cut about 5-6 bunches realized that I was going to need something a lot bigger. I grabbed an empty 5 gallon bucket. Within 5 minutes that was getting close to being full. The Latin King came to help and bring more buckets.

We ended up with three 5 gallon buckets of grapes! I couldn't believe it! That's my biggest harvest ever!

I bought these little grape vines at Lowes. I think they were mislabeled because they all have seeds in them, even though I KNOW some of the tags said seedless. Therefore, even though they have a good taste, the boys won't eat them. They are seed phobic, especially Pooh who doesn't eat strawberries because of the seeds on the outside.

What am I going to do with all those grapes? Whatever I do has to be fairly easy and uncomplicated since I'm really not into details. My brain stops functioning when the process is too complicated. So, last night I processed one bucket into glass jars for cordial. Very easy. I just smoosh the grapes (either with hand or masher), fill into jars, add Vodka, top them and sit them on my counter. Then for about 2 weeks (or until I get around to the next step) I'll turn the bottle over to give a little shake each day (or when I remember). After two weeks you strain out the juice, add some sugar to it and put it back into clean jars to sit for at least two months. I usually let mine sit until winter and then will break open a jar on a cold winter evening for a nice little glass of grape cordial. So good and so easy!

Something new I'd like to try this year is to make grape jam/jelly. I have a juicer and I read about juicing the grapes (seeds, stems and all some say--but I think I'm leaving out the stems) and then making the jam/jelly. I don't think this will turn out like regular jelly because 1. my grapes are white and 2. juicing them will probably make it a little thicker (I don't have much patience for cheesecloth). I'm going to try it and see how it works. At the very least I can freeze the juice for drinks throughout the year and/or making fruit leathers with my dehydrator.

So I'll be off my schooling groove for the day as I process 10 more gallons of grapes. Better get to it!


inadvertent farmer said...

Howdy...I have a large juicer. I put them in stems and all, cook for awhile and open the little rubber hose at the bottom and out comes grape juice. I know of no other way that is as efficient and easy...not to mention fast! Here is a link to one on have 5 or 6 models from around $70 to close to $200. Good luck...that's a lot of grapes! Kim

live4evermom said...

I can taste it now. YUM!

By the way, how long ago did you plant those?

The Glasers said...

YUM!!!! Let us know how they turned out!

Mrs. Darling said...

I agree with the inadverant farmer. Those steamers for juice have it all! There is no other way to make it without a huge mess and lots of stains. The bottom of layer of that thing has water in it that steams the grapes in the top layer. As it steams it drops its juice into the middle layer. You squeeze the hose and juice runs into your jars. Grapes are incredibly messy and dont even try to mess around otherwise. And for goodness sake, just throw the stems in and save yourself the work of stemming!