Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nature's Bounty

Two of my grandchildren wandered out in the greenbelt yesterday and brought back a bunch of dark, juicy grapes.
"Are these poisonous?" they asked excitedly.
I looked them over carefully, tasted one, and pronounced them fit for human consumption.
Wild Mustang Grapes and their vines are highly acidic and generally so sour they are inedible, but they make wonderful jelly. Surprisingly, these grapes were quite sweet with a hint of plum-like tartness to their peel. They were fully bursting with juice as opposed to the rather small ones we usually find. Guess there are some advantages to so much rain.

The three of us went out to harvest the serendipitous find. 9 year-old E ended up back in the house a short time later, but 6 year- old A stayed with me and helped. I had to retrieve a ladder to get up high enough to harvest the big bunches, not an easy task on uneven terrain. Mustang grapes have some sort of must or hair that is very irritating to the skin so, even with gloves, we had what A called "the itchies."

Having cut long vines bearing several bunches of grapes, I was faced with separating the bunches from the vines. Later I rinsed the grapes and divested them of their stems, trying to maintain the integrity of the fragile grape itself. My hands were really stinging by then. Now I just have to extract the juice from the resulting 4-5 gallons of fruit and save it for wine and jelly.

I am so delighted that my grandchildren are developing an interest in the land and its bounty and especially that they know they can come to me and find I share their interest. I wonder if, when I am old and decrepit, they will present me with a jar of jelly made from wild fruit they have gathered and the shared memory won't even require words.

1 comment:

  1. Hey NB, no one ever tells me about their new endeavors. I really appreciate y'all keeping me in the loop with pictures.

    Cowboy Dan


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