October 25, 2015 6:25am CST
We have two grape vines outside our house, one (black grapes) was already here when we moved in, and the other (green grapes) I brought with me after growing it from a cutting from the house where I was a lodger a few years before. I always associated grape vines with a warm climate so I like the idea of having one outside and being able to sit under the shady leaves and imagine I’m on holiday or something! The side effects are that far from being unsuited to our more temperate climate, they grow like crazy, have to be pruned constantly in the growing season and produce lots of grapes. We use our own home-grown vine leaves in summer to make dolmades, and in autumn gather piles of grapes. Neither of them are seedless and I don’t have the patience to thin every bunch of grapes (which is apparently what I should do if I want to grow bigger ones to eat) so we end of with masses of smallish fruit. We’ve tried making wine, which wasn’t worth the effort (it was OK if we mixed the grapes with some other fruit such as apples or blackberries) and we’ve tried making grape juice, which was really nice but we couldn’t come up with a cunning plan to store it other than freezing it, and we don’t have space for more than 4 or 5 bottles. The blackbirds do eat some, but they can’t manage them all, and the chickens are not that keen on them either. So instead I have been offering the fruit on Freegle so we can share it around. I’m expecting three people to turn up shortly so we can have a grape-picking session. Then we get to the question of how to press the grapes. I’m wondering whether to go for the old-fashioned method of treading them this time! All rights reserved. © Text and image copyright Fleur 2015.
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