Saturday, September 24, 2016

More Grapes

It's fall, or autumn, if you prefer, both according to the solar system and the mist in the morning.  Much of harvest is done; what wasn't gathered in the garden the deer ate this week.  I think the last of the large tomatoes are gathered, even the half eaten ones; the petite ones are still hanging and ripening.  The late peppers may not produce much as they're tops are now missing.

My walk to the grapes in the arbor yesterday revealed that it's time to gather the grades.  This is the most grapes I have ever seen on these vines; even one of the cross members broke under the weight.  We had draped the vines in bird netting to keep the birds out after losing almost all of last year's crop to our flying friends last year.  That didn't keep the deer from trimming the outside edges and so picking on the downhill side is not as necessary this year.

I grabbed all the big bowls I could think of from the house, my prunes and ladder and headed into the fruit.  There are three varieties: green, purple and small purple which are pinto noir.  The description of green and purple are as refined as I can describe the first two.  Despite my desire and intent to keep the vines on their separate sides of the fence, they are all intermixed and I had to sort them as I picked.  The bowls were full before I actually got into the arbor.  So into the house I went, using the tractor to haul them.

We cleaned the "purple" ones first and put them in the juicer.  The juice from the "purples" filled three one-gallon mild jugs.  We strained them through a chess cloth into a 5-gallon cooler and then back into the jugs ending up with two gallons for the freezer and one quart for the refrigerator.

Next came the "greens," actually the next morning.  Since the clusters were scattered, smaller and more irregular in size, we left the stems with the fruit in the steamer.  After all were steamed and strained, there was three gallons in the cooler ready for the canner, eight quarts in the canner, one gallon in the refrain for immediate use.

Maybe not tomorrow, but some time soon, the remaining grapes need to find their way into some form where they can feed us later this year.  Until then.

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