When I was a child my mother taught me the art of gardening. We had carrots, peas, beans, swiss chard, beets, corn, new potatoes, and the list could go on and on.
My mother canned peaches, raspberries, and pears as well. She used to put green food coloring in the pears to make them look fun to eat. We had a fruit room in our basement and rows and rows of shelves were filled every summer with all of the canning my mother did.
We always had a big garden and we grew everything. My sister and I would sit on the back step and shell peas and snap beans. It wasn’t our favorite thing to do and I am sure we complained about it, but it was nice to enjoy that all winter long.
The next fruit she canned was applesauce. Have you ever tried warm applesauce with a little bit of cinnamon on it right after you have made it. What a treat! All my children would have eaten the whole pan if I would have let them!
Then came that wonderful purple grape juice. My mother would bring home lots of concord grapes every fall. They were so easy to can.
She just took 1 cup of grapes and put them in a quart jar, then she would add water to the top and put them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
One of the interesting facts about grapes is that they are 80% water.
The main two types of grapes are European and American.
Most U.S. grapes grow in the State of California.
Worldwide, every year 72 million tons of grapes are produced.
Grapes are the second most popular fruit in the world next to oranges. They are the sixth most popular fruit in the United States.
Two and a half pounds of grapes are needed to produce one bottle of wine.
Grapes make a good snack at 60 calories per cup.
With a unique combination of crunchy texture and sweet, tart flavor, grapes have gained extreme popularity throughout the world. Grape is the second most popular fruit after oranges.
Grapes have been grown throughout the entire history of the world.
Grapes contain anti-oxidants that prevent cellular damage from free radicals.
Only three fruits are native to North American. These are blueberries, cranberries, and grapes.
Facts about grapes show that the first American to grow grapes in California was William Wolfskill. He also started the California citrus industry.
In California alone, more than 50 varieties of grapes are grown.
One grape vine can grow up to forty clusters of grapes.
One of the least known facts about grapes is that grapes are really berries.
Grapes do not ripen any further after they are picked from the vine.
Eating grapes can help lower your cholesterol.
Concord grapes are named after Concord, Massachusetts.
The most popular grape in the United States is the Thompson Seedless Grape.
One grape vine can grow to be fifty feet long.
There are 25 million acres of grapes in the world.
States producing the largest number of grapes are California, Washington, New York and Pennsylvania (in order of highest numbers to lowest numbers).
U.S. facts about grapes show that grapes and grape products contribute approximately $162 billion to the U.S. economy each year.
There are literally thousands of grape types in the world, but there are only about 600 that are considered to be available at any one time.
Grape types can also be discussed by their colors. The most popular green grapes, for instance, are Perlettes and Thompson Seedless Grapes. Perlette grapes are table grapes that are small, round and frosted green in color. Their taste is sweet to slightly tart.
Thompson Seedless Grapes are light green and oval, and the most popular grape in the United States. These are the ones you will seen most often in the grocery store. They are produced in California from June to December.
Let’s not forget about the most well known of all American grapes–the Concord. Ephraim Wales Bull planted 22,000 different grape types in the mid-1800s before he came up with the Concord grape.
What differentiated it from other grapes was not only its taste but the fact that it could be produced in colder climates than all other grapes.
This grape was developed in New England and named after Concord, Massachusetts. It is the grape most people think of when they think grape jelly or grape juice. Every year more than 400,000 tons of Concord grapes are grown in the northern regions of the United States.
Although most are grown commercially, Concord grapes are on of many grape cultivars grown in the flower and fruit gardening guides home garden.
Concord Grape juice is loaded with natural, protective, antioxidants–with more than two times the antioxidant power of grapefruit, orange or tomato juice. Concord grape juice is heart healthy–helps keep arteries healthy, clear and flexible to help promote healthy circulation and blood pressure.
Concord grape juice is naturally sweet and had NO added sugar–plus it’s fat free and cholesterol free.
Have you ever tried homemade grape jelly? Well grab your peanut butter and some bread and settle in for a real treat.
4-lbs Concord Grapes (should be about 1/4 under-ripe as no pectin is added)
1/2 cup water
3 cups sugar
Wash, stem and crush grapes. Add water, cover and bring quickly to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Extract juice by means of a jelly bag or food mill. Let juice stand overnight and strain through double thickness of damp cheese cloth to remove any crystals that may have formed.
Measure 4 cups juice in a large kettle and add sugar, mix well and boil until mixture coats spoon. Remove from heat, skim foam, pour at once into hot scalded containers and seal in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 5 six-ounce glasses.
Here are some fun Ways to Eat and Cook Grapes
We’re generally eaten raw but can be equally delicious in hot dishes. Remove stems and cut in half to remove seeds if not the seedless variety. Add raw grapes to fruit salads, cheese platters, salads, crepes, cakes, tarts, sorbets or set in jelly.
Bake, saute, microwave or simply heat in sauces. Great served with meat and mixed with vegetables. Grapes can be peeled from the stem end if required in a recipe.
Here are a few grape recipes to try:
Cheese Coated Grapes
Beat 125g cream cheese with 1-2 tablespoons of cream until smooth. Gently stir grapes into mixture and roll each one to coat in toasted chopped almonds, toasted coconut or grated chocolate. A treat!
Grape And Honeydew Wedges
Cut honeydew into wedges, remove seeds and cut diagonal slits through flesh about 2cm apart. Cut grapes in half and remove seeds if required. Mix with cottage cheese and spoon over the melon. Sprinkle with chopped prosciutto or ham. Serve chilled.
Freeze small clusters of grapes. Serve instead of ice blocks on a hot day or drizzle with melted chocolate and serve as a dessert on their own or with ice cream.
CONCORD GRAPE ICED TEA
Mixing equal parts of iced tea and 100% Concord Grape juice makes a wonderful and healthy thirst quencher. WANT FIZZ? – substitute ginger-ale or lemon lime soda for iced tea.
- 1 prepared 10″ pie crust
- 2 cans of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
- 2 8-ounce packs of cream cheese
- 16 ounces of Cool Whip Topping
- 1 1/2 cups of 100% Concord Grape Juice Concentrate
Prepare a pastry shell and bake. Cool. With an electric mixer, beat together the Eagle Brand Milk and cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the grape juice concentrate. When, thoroughly mixed, fold in Cool Whip. (Filling should have the consistency of a refrigerator cheese cake.) Pour into pie shell and chill before serving.
- 24 ounces of 100% chilled Concord Grape Juice.
- 1 cup of chilled orange juice
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of chilled lemon juice
- 1 quart of chilled ginger ale
Mix juices and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Just before serving, stir in the ginger ale. Serve over ice.
Now canning is not for everyone but it sure beats fruits and vegetables from a can in a store. I came across The Grape Guy who has a great knowledge of grape growing. He will help you grow some amazing grapes.
When my husband and I first moved to Oregon we moved to a big farm. We not only raised our children but did foster care as well. So I canned a lot each summer. We canned peaches, and pears, and applesauce and pickles, some apricots and vegetable soup (which took to long and was alot of work). We also had 4 long rows of concord grapes and I canned about 300 quarts every years. I also had a row of Thompson seedless grapes. White grape juice is very good as well but I am stuck on the concord grape juice.
Learning how to grow grapes is not complicated but don’t be disappointed if you have to wait a couple of years before having a good harvest. Grapes do need quite a bit of care, and the pruning needs to been done at the right time when the plant is dormant. You can grow some kind of grapes just about across all of North America, although in areas with hard winters you will have to choose a fast-growing and hardy variety.
Some grapes have a very long growing season so check with your local extension service or garden supply store as to what kinds of grapes grow best in your area. There are many kinds of grapes for both short and long growing seasons though the normal season would be approximately 140-180 days. It also depends on what you want to do with your grapes as to what varieties to plant.
When you get your grape plants, put them into the ground between 5 and 8 feet apart, and leave at least 8-12 feet between rows. Grapes spread out and thus can take up quite a lot of room–some grapes will extend their roots over time as far as forty feet below the soil.
Don’t plant near a garden or other plants–give grapes their own space and lots of room to grow.
Harvest grapes when they are fully ripe-they will not continue to ripen on the vine. Grape’s sugar content rises as much as 20% as they ripen, so a taste-test is the best way to tell if they are fully ripe. American and European grapes can be harvested by cutting the fruit off in whole bunches.
Other varieties should be spot-picked every few days because they ripen unevenly. Grapes can be stored in you refrigerator for two months or more depending on the variety.
As you learn more and more about how to grow grapes, you will be surprised at how much fun it is, and you will be so proud when you can have friends over and say, “I grew these grapes.”
A FEW MORE PLACES TO LEARN MORE……
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