Sunday, September 19, 2010
Every garden offers wonders
While waiting for the seeded grapes to reach sufficient sugar content to make good wine (something they might well fail to do this year), Risa decided to try to use some of them with the faster-maturing seedless grapes for canning up some grape juice.
She's learning, as an empty-nester, to work with smaller batches of things. Once upon a time, we would only have done this in the giant stock pot, which will burn fruity things if not faithfully attended. This time she ran the grapes through the blender, poured them off into the crockpots, and let them simmer. This will stop enzymes and yeast and also shove out the air bubbles introduced by the blender, which could be fatal to Mason jars -- take it from the one who, not being very good at canning, has been there...
...and without burning the juice at the bottom of the pot. When she feels the crock pots have done their business, everything goes through the strainer into a pitcher and from there to the pint jars. This is a pretty strong grape juice, not being peak-of-season, and will be mixed with a little honey and water before serving.
The three crockpots made nine pints of strained juice. They're funny little things -- two are in "avocado," that magnificently hideous 70s color. Five bucks each at Goodwill and worth a good deal more, we think.
As you can see, the garden is pretty but looks much as it did in late June, which is very odd. Corn, tomatoes, eggplants and winter squash have just sat there all summer, doing little if anything. They are just trying to get going as the cold rains set in. The cabbages, kale, and chard, however, are having a banner year. Very little bolting, even when the temperatures neared 100. Never seen nothin' like it. But when we walk there, we walk amidst beauty. Every garden offers wonders, it seems.