Today's Wonder of the World is...Muscadine Grapes! Our Own Vendange (Grape Harvest) Has Begun!
Do you know about the wonders of muscadine grapes? If you're from around here you probably do! I hate to say it, but muscadines used to repulse me with their tough, thick hulls, their musky, peppery scent, and their green, mucous- like texture. Yum yum.
But when my husband started our own little vineyard in the backyard, I soon fell in love.
I became a muscadine evangelist!
They're really better than they sound.
Here's a look at the vineyard chez Ramseys.
See, they're ready a little early this year.
Muscadines don't grow in clusters like normal grapes. Being from South Carolina, they're a bit rebellious. Muscadines don't like anyone telling them what to do.
About a week ago, Todd started picking them and bringing in buckets full.
"It's almost time," he said. "I'll need plenty of counter space on Saturday."
I knew what that meant.
It was time to make the wine.
The first time Todd turned my house into a brewery, I felt a little... weird. After all, the only grape drink Baptist girls like me usually enjoyed was the thimble full of Welch's grape juice at communion! But over the years, I've learned to appreciate the grape in all its forms as a delicious treasure--and blessing! This weekend, wine, next weekend, jelly!
Here are the stages of turning grapes to wine...
Pick the grapes and wash them.
Tanner is curious.
No no, Tanner. Remember what grapes do to you?
Oh yeah, that's right. You have a little doggy brain. You won't remember eating grapes just like you won't remember eating Sam's Sponge Bob Square Pants, my tin jewelry box, complete with red velvet interior, that my daddy brought me back from Colorado when I was little, and Todd's tub of spackling paste.
Grapes make you sick. And your head gets twice as big.
Don't worry. We won't let that happen again.
Voila! All clean.
Now it's time to squish them!
Todd and I wanted to make the stomping a family event. We planned to play music from Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain and stomp, stomp, stomp away. (Sorry, French accent police, I still can't get the accents to work on Blogger.)
The boys said, "Are you kidding? No way! That's weird!"
Then they begged us to please do our stomping inside, instead of putting on a show for all their friends to see.
No problem. It would have taken an extra half hour to get their stinky boy feet clean anyway. We did it in the kitchen and turned up the music!
Ooh. It actually felt kind of nice!
Tanner wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Here's me as Lucille Ball.
Except I didn't end up wrestling an Italian lady in a giant vat of grapes!
Here's the finished product.
Did you know that grape stomping is a perfect way to extract the juice because it doesn't crush the bitter seeds? It's true.
Plus my feet are now baby bottom soft!
Next, Todd put in a chemical to kill the natural yeast, added the French yeast, and gathered the hulls in a bag to soak in the juice, thereby giving the wine a red color and intensifying its taste.
And then he added a ridiculous amount of sugar and some water.
Now we let it sit and do its magic!
I'll let you know how it turns out!
Here's to you, my friends!
Before you go, enjoy Lucy's try at stomping the grape! If you're short on time, start it half way through.
Have a Wonder-full Monday, y'all!