Monday, September 13, 2010

Grape Jelly Chronicles

Grapes: not just for wine anymore! The University of Minnesota cultivates varietals for our climate and region, and many successful wineries now exist across our zone.  For home growers, the tangling vines and immense leaves also act as a natural privacy fence and at harvest time the fruit makes a gorgeous jelly.

Every year we watch with horror as T's beloved grapes are devoured by evil Japanese beetles.  This year, T battled those bugs and took control of his vines.  We spent three days processing the resulting fruit and now have a pantry full of lovely little jelly jars.  The purple jelly is infused with balsamic vinegar and cinnamon.  The Edelweiss jelly (actually, more of a syrup as it didn't quite set) is infused with fig vinegar and star anise.  These flavors are nice on toast, but I am especially anxious to serve them on cheese plates.

Yesterday I made a final batch of juice and after it is strained (it is best to let the juice sit overnight, then filter it through cheesecloth to remove any crystals) I will reduce it to serve alongside something luscious and savory. 













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