Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cooking: Concord Grape Syrup

The kids and I picked a lot of concord grapes this summer. Somehow they got loose in the woods and were growing up through some trees. Most summers you can smell sweet grapes, then wine, then vinegar on the breeze in late August. Most summers we smell them before we remember that they are even there, and by the time you smell them, it is too late.

Concord grapes are fairly acidic and very seedy, and therefore not great for snacking. In the past we have made wine out of them, but Mr. Farmer was not in the mood. Many years ago I made jam and jelly, but there was a recent coupon/sale combo that resulted in this:

There are 16 of These

So, having what appears to be YEARS worth of concord grape jam and jelly in the house, for thirty cents per two pound jar, which is less than what the glass alone would cost me if I made my own, it just didn't make sense to make jam. But I remembered my attempt at jelly when Young Master Farmer was just about two years old. I did something wrong, and the jelly didn't gel. The result, however, was a delicious syrup that we enjoyed on pancakes and waffles and French toast. Syrup made a lot of sense.

Concord grapes are very seedy. Those seeds are stuck really well to the flesh of the grape, and removing them is a chore. The seeds also have a fairly strong flavor, so you have to choose your battles when removing them. Cooking them will impart some of the seed flavor into your juice, but removing them raw is a lot of hard work. I chose to take the easy road this time and cooked the grapes whole (seeds, skins and all).

Of course if you want to cook a bunch of THESE...

You must first pick through a lot of THESE.

After picking through all the stems and leaves, I washed the grapes thoroughly and simmered them for a couple hours. As they cooked, I mashed them in the pot and stirred them so that the seeds broke loose. When they were done, I was finally appreciative of this weird seive that Mr. Farmer has always insisted was important:

This worked SO well!

I had to do almost NOTHING to get down to just seeds!

Look at all that beautiful juice!
I returned the juice to the pot and simmered some more, adding alternate cups of white sugar and corn syrup. I lost track of how many, and I think I burned my lips from all that acid, but it came out to be quite delicious. I poured it, still hot, into jelly jars and canning jars, wiped them up, and stuck them in the fridge. As expected, we ate it all so fast that there was no point in canning it properly.

1 comment:

  1. CORRECTION: This should read "The kids and I picked a lot of concord grapes *LAST* summer." I am having issues with Blogger and it won't let me correct posts. I hate that.