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.

9 comments:

Pat in east TN said...

Your jelly looks yummy Tammy, and hooray for you gathering those grapes and working them up!!

If you go to Farmgirls blog she talks about those mushrooms ... maybe that will help you?

Vicki Lane said...

I'm impressed! The jelly looks beautiful.

No ideas on the mushrooms though.

EvaLux said...

Chantrelles are very commonly eaten over here in Luxembourg. If you order something in a mushroom sauce 90% of the time it will have chantrelles in it. They're also great in a risotto... I do not know if those are the real thing or not... I can only identify them if they're in a little cardboard box at the supermarket :)

Cheers Eva

Beau said...

I was currious, so I checked and found this web site about mushrooms in Missouri

I can't tell from your picture, but they could be Chanterelles (edible) or Jack-O'-Lantern (poisonous). However, the site describes how to identify either type reliably, so if you want to satisfy your own curriosity, you can check it out. :). Then tell us ;)

Kathy said...

We had wild grapes on Post in Kansas - I had forgotten all about them 'til I read this blog entry, Tammy. You gave me "sweet memories" all over again! Thanks!

(We used to have a professor around here that was well-known for his knowledge of mushrooms (Jack States). We are supposed to even have some truffles around these parts, but since Jack moved away, I don't trust anyone - especially myself - to know a mushroom from a toadstool)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Mmmmm! Tart and flavorful sounds like my kind of jelly! Now my mouth is watering....

Grammy said...

Thanks for the story of wild grapes. We had them all over at our old house. I had no ideal they were useful for jelly.

Grammy said...

Hi Tammy, Thanks for stopping by. We are 8 miles from Bagnel Dam, Lake of the Ozarks area.
I too love the siamese.Crash will be 3 in Nov. Before him I lost my other 3 Bear was 18, Gracy 12 and last to leave us was Candy 14. I am glad now I have the new ones. I love then allot to. I waited about 2 years before I could. They are like members of the family and grew up with the kids.

Tammy said...

Thanks for your ideas on the mushrooms. We decided to pass on trying them, but it would be neat to get an 'expert' to say if they are safe or not. The jelly is great! I have enough to make a second batch and hope to do that this week. Hey, thanks for stopping by Grammy! You live further away than I thought, but it's still within spitting distance. ;-)
Tammy