2007-09-09 – It has been bone dry for a month, with a few nights near freezing. The grapes are ripe, with some beginning to dry on the vine. They are Riverside grapes, deep purple, almost black, very sweet and musty. Enough were gathered to fill half a 6 gallon plastic bucket. I should have taken pictures at this stage – maybe next year.
After harvest, I poured the grapes out on a tray, and put the stems and ones with obvious worms in a bucket. These leavings went out on a stone wall in the woods, to let the worms continue, feed the chipmunks, and give the grapes a chance to root.
The cleaned grapes fill half a 5 gallon pot.
A quart of water was added, and they simmered for 20 minutes. While cooking, they were chopped with a
Then they were pressed through a strainer with a large spoon.
About 5 handfuls of light brown sugar were added to the puree.
The cookie trays with puree weren’t laid directly on the drying racks, for fear they’d put too much weight on the drying rack screens. Instead, a lattice of strings was wound around each drying rack to support the tray.
The trays were covered with parchment paper, and filled with just over 1/8″ of puree. After the first tray was put in the drying rack, it became clear that the parchment paper sticking up on the sides was getting in the way, so it was cut off flush with the top of the tray.
The dried leather was taken out of the tray, and the edge of parchment paper cut off flush with the dried fruit. Then the fruit sheet was rolled up and tied with a string, and cut into strips.
The yield was four 12″x16″ sheets of leather. Since it is still flexible and not completely dry, it will probably get moldy after awhile (especially since the rains have started), so we have to eat it soon!