So last night, after midnight, Mister and I went and gathered grapes. I'd noticed that there was a grape vine on a chain link fence near a playground a while back, and when they were ripening last week, I told Mister that we needed to collect them.
Concord grapes: they're everywhere, but I've never heard of anyone actually eating them. Anyone I knew who had them in their yard just let them do their thing.
So with a flashlight, a bag, and a serrated knife, we gathered approximately 4 lbs. of grapes (not counting the stems). They are now in the process of making two interesting products. The first, is a Grape Mulled Cider. The recipe will follow. The other product that I'm making is on-par with homemade bitters made from the stems and pits left over from the grape cider.
Grape Mulled Cider
5 pounds Concord grapes
8 cups water, divided
1-1/2 cups sugar
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks (4 inches)
Dash ground nutmeg
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine grapes and 2 cups water; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Press through a strainer; reserve juice and discard skins and seeds.
Pour juice through a double layer of cheesecloth into a 5-qt. slow cooker (I didn't use the cheesecloth). Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and remaining water. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks. Yield: 10-12 servings (2-3/4 quarts).
I will include a pic of the finished product as well.
The current state of affairs of the grape bitters is:
I will probably let that sit for a few weeks, then strain, dilute and add sugar. Or something along those lines.
While I was looking up ideas to use the grapes with, I came across a couple of recipes from MEN that I want to save.
Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Red Grapes and Thyme
Apple Cider Elderberry Jelly
Also, an interesting site to use seems to be Make Hard Cider Easy -- if I ever get enough apples to make it worth my while!
And regarding the Lemon Balm Codial that I made previously, Mister had a fabulous idea for it. We could use it in Margaritas in lieu of the Triple Sec (which I hate the taste of). I for one, am excited to try.