River Grapes

River grapes

Just saw a post on wild grapes and realized I have not collected them in years. So I never posted pictures on them. These are really really old picture and this is good excuse to post them.

I have always loved wild grapes. They are abundant, fun to pick and stay more or less pest free. I grow grapes now and do not spray, so I loose a lot to mold, bugs, etc. Not the case with wild grapes they often are clean and beautiful. They are not as sweet, not as big, and contain larger amounts tartrate. So you need to gather more, sweeten more, and give the juice time to let the tartrate crystals drop out. In my case I would take the family out picking in the early fall freeze the grapes and process them in the winter. Freezing helps break down the fruit. I have made both wine and jam. Do not bother with wine, mostly because the jam is really good. You will loose 2 to 5 on your juice volume to tartrate. That is to say, if you want 5 cups of good juice you need 7 cups of raw, at least around here. To separate the tartrate leave the juice in the refrigerator for a couple days and it will fall to the bottom. Other then that you just process it like standard jam. One other thing if you take your kids remember Virginia Creeper looks like wild grapes and can grow in with them. Find some and show your kids so they do not mix them up. No picture show them the actual plant.

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