Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Fruits of My Labors
I've been eying these wild grapes for months now. It wasn't hard to do either, since they are just out my back door! I am amazed at how abundant they are this year. Wild grapes, sometimes called 'possum grapes around here, grow in abundance, in trees, fence lines and even buildings. However a year of such bountiful fruit isn't as common. I finally decided to pick what I could before we got our big "Ike" rain over the weekend (close to 5 inches). Because everything always ends up last minute around here, I actually did some picking in the rain.
The first batch I picked and stemmed early in the day. But there didn't seem to be enough to my greedy eyes, and I remembered another patch down near the road. The biggest problem with these grapes are that they grow way up in the trees. I'm working on how to get some more of them down....
So I picked and stemmed the second batch while batch number one was simmering and draining. I haven't canned any jelly for years, so I decided to wait and do the canning another day, when my mind was fresh. In the meantime I located and washed jars, cooked down the second batch and had everything ready for the big can fest.
Well, it happened last night. It was exciting and tense, and I tried to do everything just right. When it was all said and done.... I had six pint jars. hmmm... I have some juice left over, so I'm pretty sure that it just became imperative that I figure out how to get more grapes down from those trees!
If you've never had wild grape jelly, it is a real treat, I think. I opened a jar tonite to see if it set (yes!) and to sample it. Uhhmmmmm. The jelly isn't overly sweet and is a bit on the tart side. The grapes themselves are very tart and sour and not something you'd want to just sit around and snack on. Very much worth the effort I think, even if the bounty was small. My folks are onto my jelly making attempt though, so I guess I'll have to share. Especially since I used some of my Mom's jars..... ;-)
On another note, does anyone know what these, er, mushrooms (fungus?) are? I looked them up and it seems they could be Chantrelles (which are edible) OR they could be false Chantrelles (which are poisonous), but I was wondering if anyone has ever eaten the edible kind? I'm pretty sure we won't be snacking on these, but they are pretty neat. These popped up in large quantities in my parent's front yard. They are quite dramatic looking.