Harvesting wild grapes

It really cooled off yesterday, someone must have been listening to my complaints! The rain continued yesterday afternoon and evening.

But we decided it would be better to get wet than to miss out on the grapes, so we went out to pick. Mostly it sprinkled on and off, we only got one good soaker and we just hid the best we could from it. The grapes are beautiful and actually starting to dry up, so it was now, or never.

Harvesting wild grapes means you are going to get ripped up by raspberry bushes and prickly things because they grow where the grapes grow. Although the vines do hang down, all the best grapes are always up high. We use the ATV to stand on, also a ladder, and when needed, the bucket of the tractor. Thankfully the vines were so loaded we didn't need to spend the entire time up high trying to get them.

You have to be careful not to hurt the vine when cutting, and not to destroy the new buds, or you won't have grapes again for a very long time. We snip each bunch of grapes, one at a time, to make sure we are not causing any damage.

There are hundreds of vines all over the property, probably thousands... we picked from two main vines. One of them is near one of our bigger beaver floods.

Look at these grapes!

This leaf bug (I have no idea what it is, but there are lots of them) is so funny, it's amazing how they blend in.

We managed in a couple hours a BUSHEL basket of grapes. We can go pick again if we feel like we really need to.

After chores this morning, I started to work on the jelly....

First, you need to clean your area because you are about to make a huge mess. Don't wear good clothes, unless you really want to dye them purple. For example, wear your boyfriends shorts...

Secondly, gather your helpers....

Then pour yourself a nice glass of fruity wine, and sit down. You are going to be pulling grapes off their stems for a while....

It's difficult these days to find reliable kitchen help...

Then, when you get tired of that (after an hour)... move your operation into the living room where you can watch a cheesy movie while you work... in my case just because it had Adam Beech in it. I'd watch anything he's in, no matter how bad.

Then... start crushing your grapes so you can boil them... add 1 1/2 cup of water to 3 quarts of crushed grapes... and let them boil for 10 minutes.

Then you need to strain out the juice.

For each batch of jelly, you need 5 cups of grape juice, 1 1/2 packages of pectin, and 7 cups of sugar...

Bring your juice and pectin to a boil, and then add all the sugar..

Stir it well and then bring it to a rolling boil for 1 minute, and then pull off the heat. Fill your sterilized jars up with the jelly and seal them.... and keep going until you are finished.

Total time processing grapes - 6 hours.
Total time picking grapes- 3 hours.

Once that was done, it was 8PM, so off to do the evening chores I went... which was a good thing because someone was getting a little impatient...

For dinner... eggs and ham.... except not green, like Dr. Seuss eggs. It's 9 PM. We are both exhausted. Kevin spent all afternoon clearing our trails of debris and fallen trees.

I'm going to use the very last of my energy to make us a malted milkshake as a treat.

Oh wait, the bed is covered with laundry to be folded and the clean sheets are in the dryer.... oh well, I'll find the energy after my shake.


How cool that you have wild grapes.

Sometimes we find muscadines in the woods. But we have them planted in the yard and it's much easier to deal with them that way.
luckybunny said…
It is a lot easier if they are in the yard. The grapes are great for jelly, I don't know how they'd be for anything else, I know people use them for wine but it would take forever and a day to pick enough for wine making.

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