A weekend ago we finally had a good solid frost. Not that I really enjoy that sort of thing (at this point I'm still holding on to my flip flops for as long as humanly possible) but being the optomist that I am (HA!) I knew that frost was just what we needed to set the grapes for which I've been pining.
My friend, Sara, and I set out for my in-law's house first thing in the morning and stripped their vines of all the grapes we could find--mostly concords, with some white and red table grapes thrown in for variety. Then we booked it home, sent the littles off to Kindergarten and I got down to the business of juicing.
I love canning juice. It makes the house smell amazing with very little thought or true effort involved--you set the grapes and walk away for an hour before coming back to bottle it up and reset for another hour--but you can end the day with such a sense of accomplishment. When I finally had the whole mess cleaned up and headed up for bed, I counted 34 and one half bottles of tasty nectar just waiting to be stashed in my store room.
And, as if "sense of accomplishment" wasn't enough, there's always a little something to learn. This year I was certain that my new stroke of brilliance was the set up of a mini-Mighty-light table in front of the stove as a work station. Stole that one from fellow juicer, Sara, and it was pure genius, I tell you.
But that's not all, oh, no--there was more to learn. I've often left boxes of grapes out on the porch all day while I processed others, but this year the bees found them and there was moment that I was blasting the swarm with a leaf blower in one hand and trying to close the box with the other and doing my best to avoid being stung in the middle, only to get one box inside the house and return to fight for another, while Jack battled the surfacing bees from box number one. (He swatted down at least forty bees that surfaced after spelunking through the grapes.) So a second lesson from Juicing Day 2013: bring all the boxes inside while you juice. That little tid-bit is my gift to you. You're welcome.
A morning of harvesting grapes, followed by eleven hours and seven batches of grapes, resulting in 33 and one half quarts of liquid joy. What's not to love?