Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Last week, our friends Marcia and Paul invited us to their place to pick grapes. Hannah and I were so excited about our outing that we even convinced Jonathan to tag along. What a time we had!

Paul told us that the best of the crop was over. I told him it was okay, that we were mostly there to spend the morning outdoors and to take pictures. (Marcia said with the three 5 gallon buckets Paul picked before we came, she made something like 46 quarts of grape juice and pints and pints of jelly. The Warrens are not quite so ambitious...)

So we set out to the beautiful little vineyard in the back yard. We ate a few grapes,

picked one or two bunches,

posed for the camera.

Paul, meanwhile, had picked a gallon bucket full, and went by muttering, "You weren't kidding about being here to take pictures." Nope!

Paul and Marcia have several varieties of grapes, the names of which I don't remember. There are purple ones

white ones

and big muscadine grapes (I guess I remembered something.)

After we filled our bags and buckets (and chased the cat for a while),

Marcia shared with us some of the grape juice she made, along with the recipe for making our own.

Back at home, we washed and sorted the grapes, preparing some for making juice and some for grape jelly.

For the juice, Marcia said to fill the jar half full of grapes,

add half a cup of sugar,

fill the rest with boiling water, and then process the jars for 10 minutes. (I later learned that one shouldn't can on a glass-top stove because it could break the glass. Lucky thing it didn't because the grape juice was a maiden voyage for our brand new stove!)

The jelly we made using this recipe, which called for squeezing the grapes out of the skin. Boy was that a job that a two-year-old could really get into! (Mama thought it was pretty fun too.)

Finally, after the juice sat for a few days, we cracked one of our jars open and enjoyed it.

It was pretty sweet for me, but Hannah was a big fan. And let me tell you about how these grapes tasted. This might prove my fruit-ignorance, or maybe the part of the country I'm from, but I always thought that grape-flavored stuff - candy, medicine, whatever - was really fake tasting. Grapes don't taste anything like that. Well, now I've amended that opinion to say that grocery store grapes don't taste like that. These real grapes tasted just exactly like grape. What do you know? The grapes I've been eating all these years are pale imitations of the real thing.

Thanks, Marcia and Paul, for sharing your grapes and giving us a wonderful morning - and some tasty souvenirs!

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