Last week I decided to pick the wild grapes growing in my yard. Wild grapes are different than cultivated grapes. The wild grapes tend to grow sparsely...not in nice tight bunches. Also, the wild grapes are not normally within easy reach. Not deterred by this knowledge, I went out into my yard with my Kitchen Shears and a bowl to harvest the grapes. I waded into the weeds and overgrowth and harvested a small bowl of grapes. My thoughts ventured to grape jam...dozens of 1/2 pint jars of the delicious spread. I knew I did not have enough for my vision.
Who has wild grapes growing in their yard...or along the roadside? My in-laws! In fact, they have a grape vine in their backyard. The perfect place to stop! Off the girls and I went to visit Vavõ and Vavó. My mother-in-law said their vines did not produce anything this year. Not daunted, I went into the yard to check. Sure enough, the vines were empty. Then I detected the faint aroma of grapes. I looked up and spied some wild grapes. But how were we to get them?
My father-in-law seeing the four of us deep in thought, came over to help. Being the Portuguese farmer that he is (not really but a fabulous garden that is the envy of everyone in the neighborhood), he knew just what to do. He went into the shed and came out with a ladder and a fruit picker with a long handle. Armed with these tools, we climbed and pulled down the grape vines to fill up a bag. At first, my daughter complained about the bugs and debris falling from the vines. But, after picking a view grapes, she quickly got into the process. She insisted on climbing the ladder and pulling down the vines. Resisting the urge to keep her protected and afraid that she would fall, I swallowed my fear and let her climb the ladder and go at the vines. She had great success and fun pulling down the vines while her sister and I picked the grapes off the downed vines.
We had a really fun and productive time which yielded a small bag of grapes. In total we had 3 pounds of grapes. Now how to make some jam...