I got home from Nigeria on Saturday evening, and almost immediately (after hugging my boys and being licked by the dog, of course) went out to check on the Concord grapes that were ripening as I left a week before. The birds have been eating them, picking off the individual grapes as they ripen, so that the clusters look exactly the same now as they did before – each cluster a mix of green and almost purple – but there are fewer of them. Very sad.
Yesterday I was whacking back weeds against the chain link fence, doing battle with the bindweed. And as I pulled the wicked stuff off the fence and grape vines…I found a gift. Pounds and pounds of beautiful clusters of grapes, the fruit of a vine I abandoned last year after it has refused to produce since its planting. I must have been putting too much pressure on the poor thing, because left to its own devices it climbed into the neighbor’s evergreen hedge and flourished. In order to harvest the grapes I simply tugged on the vines and cut them off the plant, and hauled armfulls of vines and fruit into the house.
A few clusters I’ve saved for eating – they are sweet-tart and grapey and quite seedy – but most of them I crushed and strained for jelly. I haven’t heard tell of white grape jelly, but I’ll try it.