Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guess what's ready already?

These are Frontenac grapes, a cold-weather variety I picked up some years ago at a Fleet & Farm in central Minnesota.  I'm not sure why they are already turning from Packers to Vikings; I mean, 2014 training camps aren't even open yet. Maybe it's just that they are used to a shorter growing season - things really got kicked off here in April while my dad still had snow at the cabin in northern Packerland.

But I'm pretty sure I know why they're so small: I neglected both of these vines while I was pruning everything else back in January.  I intended to get to them, really I did.  But sometimes things don't work out.  As a result, both vines are crawling with grapes, but you need about three of them to make up one of those awesome California grapes you see at Walmart. Each bunch is about 6" from top to bottom.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the yet.  I still have bit of grape jelly from last year and the Concords, which are better for jelly anyway, look to be producing a bumper crop.* So if I need to make more jelly, I'll probably use those.  Wine is a possibility, and I ordered some appropriate yeast tonight and may try a gallon or so.  But for now, I separated them and put the purple grapes in the freezer.  A few more nights of picking and I'll have close to 10 pounds, I suspect. That's enough to make pretty much anything.


* I just hope I get to them before the birds do.


  1. Replies
    1. I have some for you, vintage Concord 2013. Maybe we can make a few jars from this and see if the boys can taste the difference.

  2. Grape salsa?

  3. Grape sorbet?

  4. And definitely grape personal fav.

  5. Eat them? Grape juice?

    Try the wine. I've got quite a few bunches coming myself, from five vines. Each one a different variety. I'm new to grapes, so I'm wondering what to do with them myself. I hoped they'd taste good.

    1. Juice perhaps. Because they are so small, eating them is more an exercise in oral seed management than anything. But if you're going to juice them, then it seems the proper course is to then move on to wine...

  6. I am just learning about grapes. Last week I read that fruit quality is higher if you prune and remove clusters if there are too many. And grapes do better on sandy soil. Really good soils is actually bad for them because too much nitrogen causes them to not harden up for winter. So my 15 acres that used to have lots of cows pooping on it may not be ideal for grapes.