on the grapevine

OK birds, you’ve had your share.. Watching blackbirds and robins eating my grapes in recent days spurred me into the annual vine harvest.

Ripe grapes ready for picking

Ripe grapes ready for picking

Working along the fence where the vines fan out, I picked over 14 pounds / 6.5 kilos of black grapes (and left some for the  birds of course).

14 pounds / 6 kilos picked and cleaned.

14 pounds / 6 kilos picked and cleaned.

This variety develops a beautiful rich and sweet taste, losing its tartness after a few weeks of cold. The snag is that it has pips, so the grapes are a nuisance to eat.  I don’t have the knowledge nor the equipment to try making wine, so called upon the trusty Magimix juicer to work its centrifugal wizardry.

First trickles of grape juice

First trickles of grape juice

A couple of hours of drip feeding grapes and one very messy utility room later, I ended up with several jars of thick, opaque grape slush. Trying to force it through a muslin cloth was fruitless – pardon the pun – as the juice was too thick. So I settled for pushing it through a fine metal sieve.  That took some of the sludge out, to the point where it was good enough to drink.

Then it was the simple pleasure of funneling the juice into some nice Kilner bottles. Those accounted for about 1.5 litres, with another half a litre or so going into some spare plastic water bottles.  Two litres in total felt like a reasonable return.

Freshly bottled grape juice

Freshly bottled grape juice

The Kilners are now in the fridge door, ready to provide refreshing drinks in the coming weeks, with the two plastic bottles in the freezer.  Yes it looks like paint, but for that a supermarket would add the word ‘natural’ or ‘rustic’ to the bottle and bump the price up by 50%.  I’ll just enjoy thinking of it as a smoothie.  Sorry birds!

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