Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Grapes

Have you ever driven down Rt. 5 along Lake Erie in the autumn just to smell the grapes? If not, I highly recommend doing it this year.

Two years ago I planted 2 small concord grape plants in honor of my dads family, who had vineyards right off Rt. 5 in Westfield, New York for Welch's Juice and Jam. Okay, I also planted them because I can't get concord grapes here in The Heartland. But doesn't the 1st reason sound so sentimental and sweet?
My grandma Anna made the most amazing Concord Grape Pie, which I want to learn to make. She painstakingly cooked the grapes, separated the skins and after what seemed like many many steps, we had a bright and sweet tasting treat. I can't wait! I also love 'Cheater Juice', and no longer want to drive to Buffalo with my canning gear in the back of the Jeep, just so I can have juice.

The grapes are so full this year, I will be able to make pie and enough juice for most of the year. And I don't have to wait to enjoy my sweet grapey harvest. I am making Dolmathes with Avgolemono Sauce - that's Stuffed Grape Leaves with Lemon Sauce, a recipe I found in the charity cookbook from the Buffalo Hellenic Orthodox Church. It is so incredible and I'll post pics tomorrow when they are completed. Today I harvested the leaves, washed and par-boiled them. Tomorrow is our Greek dinner of stuffed grape leaves, flat bread, salad and a Cypress style Chicken and Potato's.
Who knew grapes could offer such a long harvest?


Simple Syrup, as light as you like
Concord Grapes, cleaned and stemmed
You will need clean 1 Qt. canning jars and canning equipment for hot water bath method

Fill jars with about 1/2 Cup Grapes, top with hot simple syrup
fit with clean, 2 piece lids and put through hot water bath

Once cool, put jars up for many months. Once the grapes loose their color into the water and it looks purple, the will still NOT be ready. It takes patience to make cheater juice. Once spring has arrived and you are excited about the fresh foods you have planted and will harvest not as soon as you would like, open a jar of the juice and enjoy Autumn all over again.

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