One late Summer morning after my mom died, Grandpa came to the house with his little Ford tractor towing behind it a little black and battered wagon. He called to me to get a couple of clean garbage cans and load them into the wagon...we were going grape picking. I did what he asked and climbed onto the back of the tractor, completely baffled...I didn't know we had grapes growing on the farm!
We went up to the top of the hill, and across the road from the fishing pond that I spoke about in my last blog, was another field and at the very top of it was a huge apple tree. Wrapped all throughout the apple tree were a grape vines, with huge clumps of concord grapes hanging down between the apples and leaves.
Grandpa pulled the old wooden ladder out of the wagon, and propped it securely against the tree. Without hesitating, he climbed up and began cutting clumps of grapes off, then handing them down to me to gingerly put into the garbage cans. It didn't take only about an hour or two (tops) to completely fill both of those garbage cans.
Once home and unloaded, I was left with the task of 'what' to do with them. I had never made jams or jellies but I was about to learn. I felt up to the task but had to get the know-how, so I went to one of my mom's cookbooks and began educating myself all about canning jams and/or jellies.
|The exact cookbook I used!|
If you have never made grape jam before, it can be a daunting task. I remember trying two different ways...the first being squeezing the pulp out of the skin...one grape by one grape, then later I made it a little easier by cooking the grapes a little and then running them through a food mill. (Hey--it was faster and saved my fingers from turning various shades of purple!)
By the time that it was all said and done, I had made a couple of dozen pints of grape jam...which was shared with my grand-parents, aunts and uncles. I was so proud of myself! (And I know mom would have been proud of me too!)
That was the first...and last time that I ever made jam...although given the chance to get 'free' grapes again, you can bet I would. That was the best tasting jam I think I have ever had! There is nothing that tastes better than something home made!