We have had a grape vine which grows up against the south wall of our house for the whole time we have lived here (over 14 years). It goes largely untended, never watered, never fed and only ‘pruned’ viciously once a year. It was always considered more a decorative feature than a productive one. I did try removing all the juvenile bunches bar a few to see if I could get those that were left to grow bigger but it made no real difference.
This year however we have a bumper crop and although all the grapes are small there are plenty of them, they are ripe, sweet and rather healthy looking. If we leave them they will just rot and drop off, make a huge mess and attract the dying, angry wasps, so I have plan!
Grapes don’t make good jam and the juice is difficult to preserve so I am going to try and make some grape jelly. I can’t use them all otherwise I’d end up with gallons of the stuff but after collecting some jars and looking up some recipes on t’internet… I was ready.
It was a bit time consuming as I had to mash and boil the grapes down until I got a rich liquor and then had to strain the resultant soup through my trusty jelly strainer (which takes an age). After all this was done I then had to boil up the juice with the the sugar and try to get it sweet enough to taste but sharp enough to taste home made and to set too.
Biggest problem was that the grapes were so sweet they didn’t have much pectin and even though I gave it a good ‘ol boil, when it cool in the jars I found it hadn’t set. So back in the pit and the addition of some pectin from a bottle and a re-boil and …… well it sort of set! Anyway I thought it tasted ok so quit whilst I was a bit ahead.
I think it worked out ok but we will have to wait for the family’s tasting session…. And they can be brutal critics.
I’ll let you know.