Sunday, March 13, 2016

Grapes and what to do with them

The weather seems to know that March is the first month of Autumn and all of a sudden gone are the 30C+ days and nights are a lot cooler.  We even had our first frost two nights ago.

My six grapevines are getting ready to be harvested.  First ready was Himrod, an eating, white grape.  Second was the Pinot Noir, a dark black, small round, very juicy grape.  I am now picking these every day for daily fruit.  But there is a glut and so I started searching the internet for things to do with them.
Black Pinot Noir waiting to be simmered, Green Himrod for juice and Pinot Noir in a jar with Martini Mix
The first bucket of grapes 

I remember my mother talking about Grapes in Brandy, and though I trawled through our hard liquor stash I couldn't rustle up any brandy.  Voila!  the Martini mix leftover from my 50th looked pretty good, so I put grapes in a jar, and poured over Martini Mix,  It looks pretty edible and yummy...

Next I followed internet instructions for heating and mashing grapes and putting into jars for juice.  This was fun, and I processed in the Pressure Canner for 10 mins to preserve it.

Finally I fresh pressed the Himrod for fresh Grape Juice.  I'm tempted to try to turn some of it into wine..more on that later!


  1. We make grape juice a lot. Add soda water and it taste like grapetise - Eli's favourite drink

  2. Anna, can you explain exactly what a pressure canner is? And by 'canning', do you just mean preserving, or are you actually putting stuff in cans? What is the advantage of using one?

    1. Hi Debs. It preserving using AGEE jars. Using the overflow method is not recommended, although I accept the practice has continued in New Zealand, it is virtually unknown everywhere else. With sticky juice and bit of fruit getting stuck between the jar and the lid it creates a possible ingress for bugs and bacteria. Also the heat created by just boiling the fruit before popping into a jar is not that great, and spoilage is possible. The fruit becomes mushy and not well formed. Using the boiling water method or a Pressure Canner is recommended. These methods also mean you can can vegetables, meat, meatballs, spaghetti sauces, stews, soups, fish (salmon etc) and more safely also. A PRESSURE CANNER is a large pressure cooker with a guage on the top. I got mine from Amazon for US$60 + freight a few years ago and love it. In general you pack AGEE jars and put on the lids, then fill the Canner with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Put in the cans, put on the lid and let vent for 10 mins to bring everything up to heat. Then on goes the weight, watch the guauge rise (5 for fruit, 10 for vegetables and fish) and then start timing. The internet is full of ideas for all sorts of wonderful recipes and ideas! I use the Canner to doing Hot Water Baths too...

  3. This is similar to mine. I have a Presto, but I couldnt tell you how large it is! It takes 6 large AGEE jars, or lots of little ones stacked on top of each other.

  4. I love that stuff in Agee jars is ready to be heated (or not) and eaten. Yes, freezing is fab, but you have to defrost. If you do a bulk amount of meatballs and can them, you only have to get off the shelf, open, and heat. Voila dinner!