Friday, November 13, 2009

Picking Grapes

One fall activity we all look forward to is picking grapes! We have grape vines growing all over our property. Picking grapes usually takes an afternoon or two. We load up all the ladders in the four wheeler trailer and enough buckets for everyone, then head out on our "grape" adventure!

This year we had some friends join us for an afternoon of picking. The guys tackled the vines in the tall trees, while us ladies picked the stuff they pulled down. My monkeys, I mean boys, would scurry up the trees, grab hold of a vine, and hang on until they hit the ground. Or they would just swing from the vine until it finally broke loose. Who needs a swing set? :)

Eating the grapes fresh off the vine is a real treat.....all those antioxidants! :) You just have to be careful not to confuse the Grape vine and the Virginia Creeper vine. They occasionally end up twisted around each other making it look like one vine. Virgina Creeper is poisonous, but it also tastes horrible, so it's hard to get poisoned from it. And as fall lingers on, the Virginia Creeper vine turns red (leaves and stems), making it obviously different from Grape vine.

Here is a picture of Virginia Creeper.

Making grape juice and grape jelly are our two favorite ways to use our grapes. For the juice, we just freeze the concentrate in 2 cup containers and then add water and sweetener (organic cane juice crystals) when we are ready to drink some. It's are real treat in the dead of winter! If we are planning to mix up some juice, chances are we're either eating homemade pizza or popping some popcorn. :)

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