Friday at the Farmer's Market I saw some of the most beautiful muscadine grapes. Oh they were beautiful and tasted so very good that I bought some. My intention was to put up some grape jelly since that is my favorite. I have fig and strawberry, and they are okay, but I really enjoy grape.
Saturday I head over to my mom's because putting up anything is always easier with help. As we began working on the grapes she told me of my grandmother doing this same thing. She would walk home from the field where she had been working in cotton and pick the wild grapes until she had her hat full. I can just picture my grandmother walking along and picking this free food to help feed her growing family.
So anyway, we started by washing and mashing our grapes. Some of them were pretty tough to mash so we just cut them in half.
Then we set them on to cook. Now, I had come prepared with everything to make this jelly, or so I thought. When the grapes had finished cooking we needed to strain the juice off. I had forgotten the cheese cloth, but not to worry, my mother had something we could use!!!
She had a piece of a shear curtain!!! Last year when my mother and aunt had cleaned out my grandmother's house they found some of her old shears she had saved just for things like this. See my dear Ma-Ma grew up in the Depression and she had a saying "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without." Guess she was planning on using up these shears!!
So we finished making up the jelly and I was quite proud!!
I still had some grapes left, but not enough pectin (I had come prepared for one batch). So we decided to make some grape juice. My mother told me how that during the war my grandmother would can only some jelly and the rest she would can as juice. This was because sugar was rationed and so she would have to wait until she had some extra sugar before making more jelly. I didn't make a lot of juice, but it was enough that we all tried it. It was a hit with the hubs and kiddos.
I think I may go pick some more grapes and actually put some aside for later use. And as I pick my grapes, I will think of my dear grandmother who worked so hard to stretch things when times were tough. She is my inspiration on my self-sufficient/homesteading journey.