Since my father-in-law is selling antiques for us this week in Crossville, TN at the World's Longest Yard Sale, my brother-in-law Bud has come to stay with us. Bud just turned 9 years old. He helped us pick the grapes.
Keep in mind that we are newbies at this whole jelly making process. We decided to harvest the grapes at 7pm Wednesday evening and it took about an hour to cut the grapes off this one vine. Everyone chipped in, even Eli, until we had to pull him off the grapes. He started eating them out of the bucket...seeds.
I was surprised at the amount of grapes that were on the vine--8 gallons--and at just how heavy they were! Bud was even having a hard time holding them up.
Here is what we were left with after stemming and cleaning the grapes, three big bowls (courtesy of Eli) full.
Like I said, we are novices. By this point it is somewhere around 9pm and we have not washed or sterilized any bottles, lids or rings. Uh....crap! So we bust out the trusty cooker and this is what the bottom looks like: Doesn't it look just like a smiley face? This was my clue to stay positive, the sign that our jelly would rock!
Finally we get all the blasted jars sterilized and moved to cooling racks next to the stove. This might be an excellent place to mention how now more than ever I truly appreciate the convenience of a well thought out, modern kitchen. Ours, while cute, is not one of them. We live in an older house with a stand alone stove and no dishwasher. Love it! But it's not the easiest to work in.
Now, onto the grapes, which we boiled in two massive doses. It seemed like it took forever for them to boil! By this point it is probably 11:30. This is just a guess because by this point in the evening I had already begun to wonder why I chose to begin making jelly so late.
After we boiled all the grapes we ran them through a sieve. I was too tired at this point to remember to take a picture of the sieve. I'm sure you understand. After crushing the grapes in the sieve, we poured the juice through double ply cheese cloth to remove any extra pulp. By this time, it's early Thursday morning and it seemed as though the juice would NEVER strain through the cloth!
Here is my trusty blue funnel through which I poured the yummy goodness of scuperdine jelly. Yes, the pictures of the jelly cooking in the pot are also missing because it was just too early and the jelly was way too hot to mess around with. Anyway, just look at the jelly shimmering in the jar! Ignore the gooey mess on the stove top.
At 3am we finally finished up the jelly. I say finished, but we had only cooked half of the juice we rendered. The next day we made the second half. And on Friday we finished up the final 5 pint batch. Here is our massive bounty. And now is time to give Mr. Daddy Man props for his marvelous design.
So we survived our first jelly making experience and I must tell you that our jelly straight rocks! And I would spend about 3 full paragraphs blabbing on and on about it, but we are in the middle of making blueberry jam as I type this. But I did promise you I'd post this and I'm already a day late. So, farewell for now, friends; blueberry jam to come.