For the 2nd year in a row, I’ve got a big harvest of seeded grapes. Now I just need to know what to do with them. Last year I got 65 pounds of grapes and was pretty overwhelmed, giving away at least a third of them.
This year, I’ve had massive losses to birds, animals (probably fox and raccoon, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the groundhog (s) got some too), and wasps. I’ve been picking for the last two days and have about 40 pounds. The bigger issue with the creatures, is that I think they’ve gotten the sweetest ones, leaving me to salvage the less ripe ones. Last week I sampled a few in the 13-14 brix area. Then when I was harvesting, I got a lot in the 7-10 brix range. I’m also having more rot problems this year, even with a spray (maybe 2?) of fungicide. It’s still a lot better than before I started spraying, when I used to get maybe 0.2 pounds from the same sized vines. But it does mean that the 45 pounds will probably turn into 30-35 pounds once the bad berries and stems are removed.
Even at 15 brix, I’m not really into eating them. The seeds make it a bit of a pain. I’m willing to overlook them for muscadines which are 20 brix and the size of plums, but for small slip-skins a handful is enough for me (leaving 39.9 pounds…).
That leaves processing. I made jelly last year, which was decently good. I used a jar or two, but still have a dozen jars left from last year. I don’t eat that much jam/jelly and when I do, I prefer black current (not just good, but great). The grape jelly is good for when my daughter wants a PB&J.
I made some grape juice last year, which was OK. This year, I just made ~13 pounds into juice for smoothies, this time blending the seeds (last year they were strained out). I’m freezing some of it in ice cube trays for longer term storage.
So, I’ll throw out the question- what do you do with seeded grapes?
Batch 1 (Friday):
A lot of drops- I’m not sure if the wasps animals, or rot caused it, but the wasps were still interested. The white tailed big ones made me pretty nervous, even though I dressed up to cover everything (including gloves).
I actually found it easier to cut off the spurs, where they connected to the main trunks. Then, I could scoot away form the wasps and cut off the bunches at a more leisurely pace. I also removed much of the rotten or broken grapes.
I’ve been reading about the health benefits of grape seeds, so I figured that since I have them, I’ll blend them up as fine as I can (Vitamix) and use them in smoothies for the next few months. I thinking that once the cubes have frozen, I can dump them into freezer bags and store them in the garage chest freezer (normally 5-10 deg F).