Monday, October 29, 2012

Grape Harvest Completed

    I finished juicing the last of our grapes a few days back.  The total production for this year was 6 gallons, which is down some from prior years. Part of that drop is due to the fact that the grapevines out by the driveway were severely pruned when we took down the old deck and split rail fence.  The vine that was growing up on the old deck is an Interlaken grape and has been very productive in years past. There are also two Canadice grapevines next to the driveway that previously were trellised along our split rail fence.  Linda has persuaded me to remove all three of those vines this coming winter.  As a trade off I will be expanding the front vegetable garden to include that entire side of the front yard.
From left to right, Interlaken, Canadice, and Valiant grape juice

     The color variation in the grape juice depends on which varieties of grapes were used to make each batch.  The purple Valiant grapes produce a dark juice that looks and tastes similar to the frozen Concord grape juice sold in the grocery store. The red Canadice grapes produce a pretty rose colored juice, while the green Interlaken grapes produce a light pink grape juice.  The juice is translucent when it first is put into the bottles from the steamer juicer and turns opaque within an hour or so as the juice cools.  I discussed this phenomena with a chemist friend. He explained that the sugars and other compounds may be forming micro crystals as the juice cools. The crystals are small enough such that they remain in suspension and cause the juice to become opaque.
The bulk of this year's grape harvest

    I briefly thought I had a deer problem as the low hanging grape vines around the duck pen had been pruned to a higher level.  I've actually seen a few deer in the neighborhood within the past month, although never that close to our yard. I even found some suspicious looking tracks in the new garden bed I'm making just next to the duck pen.  As it turns out, deer tracks and goat tracks are very similar. I had fed grape prunings to the goats when we had to prune back vines during the summer. Jack Black apparently developed a taste for them and was doing a little extra curricular pruning during one of his escapes.  Fortunately, I had already harvested those grapes and I would have pruned those portions of the vines anyhow.  Jack Black tends to be a bit indiscriminate in his pruning so I need out find out how he is getting out and repair or reinforce that portion of the fence.

     Linda and I enjoyed a visit from Conner and Natalie today.  Conner helped me harvest apples this morning.  It made me glad that I hadn't yet pruned off all of those lower branches as I watched Conner standing on his tiptoes to pick apples.  After I had emptied my special apple picking bag I could hear the apples begging me to make them into a pie.  When I told the kids I was going to make apple pies, Natalie immediately volunteered to help. She has a keen interest in cooking for one so young.  I let her add the cinnamon and she got a little carried away.  The pies still turned out well, but they had the most cinnamon of any apple pies I have ever made.  The crust was wonderfully light and flakey thanks to Emeril's pie crust recipe and my low protein biscuit flour. Happiness is being able to consistently make wonderful pie crust.

1 comment:

  1. Mail me one!....a pie...or I guess I could make my own.