Your grapes are lemons?? Make marinade!

grape juice wp-image-2297 summary: making grape juice; how to use it in savoury dishes; information about Not Far From the Tree; (click on images for more photos and larger views)

So you think the grapes have ripened too unevenly, eh? It’s okay, they still make great juice!

vinifera grapes wp-image-2296 I have no idea what kind of grapes these are. They are some sort of Vitis vinifera, maybe “Regent”? The grape arbour we picked a week or so ago had not been pruned in some time so I suspect the grapes are supposed to be larger.

I confess that I was a little disappointed that the grapes were wine grapes rather than Concords (even though concords are awfully sweet). And certainly, the grapes should have been allowed to ripen a little more.

What a shame that the home-owners don’t know about this:

Grape vines require heavy pruning annually. […] Once they start producing fruit, annual pruning is needed to maintain the balance between vegetative growth and fruit production. If grapevines produce too much fruit in one year, they will not produce a good crop next year and could suffer winter damage. If grapevines produce too little fruit one year, they will produce too many shoots and leaves that year. It is very important to properly prune your grapevines every year.
 
– Toronto Master Gardeners: Growing Grapse

Being the glutton that I am, I feel like I always knew about the first part of the following. But who knew that grapes were such a miracle food?!

Besides being eaten raw, grapes can be cooked and used to make jams, jellies, and juice. They can also be cooked into pies and used in dessert recipes. Grapes can be dried to make raisins. They contain powerful antioxidants, linking them to the prevention and treatment of heart disease, Alzheimer, and various cancers. Resveratrol is a substance found in grapes linked to a reduction in colon cancer. Grapes are high in vitamins A, C, B6, and Folate. They contain micronutrients that support bone health. The fruit can ease constipation and indigestion. Its iron content helps with fatigue. Grapes are also known to ease migraines
 
– Heritage Garden: Grape (Vitis vinifera) (University of Illinois at Chicago)

grape juice Using the same method we used in 2013 to make juice: boiling the grapes and then putting the sludge through the food mill, we made juice. Initially we were concerned that it made two large jars – what on earth were we going to do with juice made from sour wine grapes??

We tasted it. We couldn’t believe how intensely grape-like the resulting juice was. It was fruity. It was sweet(ish). It was intensely red.

Sure, the juice was on the tart side. But it was perfect to add to stir-fried Swiss Chard (with grape juice instead of cherries…) to brighten the flavour of the stir-fry – nope, no photographic proof – we ate it all….

And the juice was even more perfect to use as a marinade for pork shoulder! Wow. Who knew that unfermented grape juice would work so well in a marinade? It was brilliant! (No photographic proof – we ate it too….)

Alas we have no more grape juice!

Admittedly, we COULD have had more. But we were quite prodigal and only used the purple grapes, leaving the green ones on the vines and relegating all the rejects to the composter.

We contemplated getting the grapes out of the composter and picking off any of large almost completely ripened green grapes. Actually, it more more than contemplation. I went out the next day to the composter to get them. When I got there, I saw that the composter lid was already removed.

And there weren’t any grapes at all! It was like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

It’s just a guess, but I’m pretty sure that the culprit(s) was(were??) the highly educated neighbourhood raccoon(s) having had a giant middle-of-the-night party, demolishing the grapes, stems and all.

I sure hope that NFFtT contacts me to pick more grapes! We (and the raccoons) neeeeeeeed more….

Not Far From the Tree Not Far From the Tree

“Not Far From the Tree” is a Toronto organization that includes a residential fruit-picking program to pick fruit (with permission, of course) that would otherwise go to waste.

There are lots and lots of fruit trees and vines in Toronto!! Bearing fruit that is eaten by birds, squirrels and raccoons. If you have such a thing in your garden and would like the animals to share the fruit with people, please do contact “Not Far From the Tree”. They will send a team of pickers to clean up your yard of fallen fruit and pick the good fruit that is still in the tree. The harvested fruit is divided evenly into 3 portions: one third going to the tree owners, one third going to the volunteer pickers and the final third going to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens.

For more information about NFFtT and how you can donate your time and/or share your fruit, please go to

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  • Barbara M

    That juice has a gorgeous colour. But I’m afraid that when I read “grape juice”, I immediately think of that loathsome stuff that children supposedly like. *shudder* But I guess that’s a specific kind of grape that these grapes aren’t.

  • I think you are right, Barbara. As far as I know, the loathsome stuff is made with Concord grapes and it is indeed revolting. I think there may even be added sugar in it. As if it’s needed!

    This grape juice just tasted refreshing. We were very sorry when there wasn’t any left.