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Having a Grape Time – Wish You Were Here! November 11, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Food, random stuff.
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PhotobucketYou know how I’ve always said “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing?”

Well, this isn’t one of those instances.  Really, it’s not!  Coming home from the farmer’s market with a mere peck of concord grapes is child’s play!  (Several years ago, a friend  and I drove to Naples and came home with bushels of grapes.  A peck?  Bah.)

However, it is an awful, awful lot of grape bread, and, tasty though it was, enough was enough!

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So clearly, some processing was in order, huh?

This is one of the reasons I took a “fall vacation” rather than a summer vacation, you know  . . .

The first thing we have to do is separate the seedy inner pulp from the purple skins.   It’s not difficult to squeeze the “guts” into a pan – just a little sticky, that’s all!

Photobucket However, two people working together make short work of it!

Ultimately we want all the grape, um, innards in a large-ish saucepan (for this amount of grapes, I used the small dutch oven) and all the skins in a separate bowl.  Or two.

As an aside, do you know that, when it comes to wines the purple grapes are called “black?”  I guess I can see why, huh?

Just an interesting bit of grape trivia there for you.

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Now that the grapes have been separated, and we’ve washed the sticky off our hands (and arms), it’s time to go to work.

We take the pot of grape ooze, and it goes on the stove – just bring it to a boil, and let it cook for a minute.

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PhotobucketMeanwhile, while we’re waiting for the stuff to come to a boil, I like to chop the skins.  This isn’t really necessary, but  I just think there’s something kind of off-putting about whole grape skins in my grape pulp.  And besides, it’s not like I’m going anywhere – not while there are 8 quarts of grapes on the stove!

See how much purpler the skins get when you chop them?  Pretty cool, huh?  Because there’s still a lot of liquid in them, we pulsed them in batches – but remember, you just want chopped, not pureed!

Dump them right into another pot as you go – we went with the non-stick spaghetti pot.

PhotobucketRemember how we don’t want seeds in our grape pulp?  Well, now’s the time to do something about it.  Oh yay, right?

We just ran the slightly cooked inner grapes through the food mill, and voilá –  separated seeds!  I understand that one could push them through a strainer, but, to be honest, I’ve never not had a food mill, so I don’t know how that would work.  Just fine, I’d expect.

You’ll note that we’re, uh, milling the grapes right into the same pot where the chopped skins are patiently waiting.  It’s time to reassemble the grapes!  Well, sort of – we’re going to  put the insides and the outsides back together again, anyway.

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PhotobucketAfter you’re done making pretty patterns in the purple-and-green-swirls, give it all a good stir and bring it just up to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let it cool.  I let the whole mess sit in the fridge overnight before packing it up for the freezer.

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And it just seemed to work out that a peck of grapes – 8 quarts – after processing, became 4 quarts, which makes for some mighty easy math, doesn’t it?

PhotobucketOne quart is the perfect amount to make filling for a single pie, or, as I recall, it’s also a single batch of Nero Wolfe’s grape-thyme jam.  (OK, Wolfe made jelly, but I much prefer jam!)  Or it’s a good 4 batches of grape muffins.

Heck, I could probably even make grape smoothies.  Now there’s an idea . . .

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