Of course they didn't look like much last spring...
...however by summer they looked hopeful. I say hopeful, because the birds and snakes like the grapes too.
In fact a black snake got stuck in the netting my husband put around the grapes to keep critters out. Profuse thanks to my husband for releasing the snake.
By July my husband started harvesting the grapes, a bit too early. Even so, aren't these beautifully frosty looking for July grapes? They always look like this. Absolutely beautiful.
He was so anxious that we get to eat them before the bugs got to them, that he picked them all. Actually the purple grapes are much sweeter than the green grapes. Sadly there were few purple grapes. The green grapes were a bit sour. Usually this stuff is like zingy champagne when eating them...in August. One month more on the vine does make all the difference. However one exciting thing is that this is the largest harvest ever! My husband gave the bag to our neighbor who first gave us the grape plants. When we first moved here my husband asked me what we should grow in the bare spot against the house. It is very sunny and hot there in the summer, so I told him to espalier some grapes there. While talking about what types of grapes to grow, our neighbor gave us extra grapes from his recent planting at the same spot at his house! So every year the guys compare notes. For some reason our neighbor's grapes didn't fare well this year. In the beginning their grapes produced before ours did, so they shared with us, a few clusters from the little bit of harvest they had. Each year the harvest gets larger. This was so prodigious I might have to find some canning recipes for next year!
In summers past I never got to cook anything with the grapes because everyone eats them right up. They went so quickly because the harvest was smaller...and sweeter. Everyone liked these, despite the sourness, but they were a bit too sour for digging in so abundantly and I was afraid of having to toss them soon. So I found this recipe for a grape galette! For a video on a great crust, see this. And here is an interesting bit of history on galettes, from Rome to Europe. Many thanks to the Europeans for the addition of butter to the crust!
The dough was super easy because I've had a box of puff pastry in the freezer from a history presentation meal a few years ago. I dug it out, let it thaw, then rolled it out. Then I added the sugared grapes to it, then I pinched up the sides. Galettes are free form so no need for perfection. yea! Pie crusts are a challenge for me. This is more fun anyway.
Ta da! Doesn't that look delicious? But it gets better...
Just wait until next summer! I have new tips loaded with TLC for growing grapes that I'd like to try next summer. A few weeks ago I attended a lecture at The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. This day was fantabulous...from the tour of the gardens to the lecture with Michael McConkey of Edible Landscaping. My husband sent me on a mission for all of our gardening woes and I came home laden with answers! It was so exciting! Also fun because as soon as Michael started talking, he said he recognized me. Where have we met before? lol Who's to know but there was lots of teasing and that was fun, I must admit. I'd have gone to his persimmon event last weekend (I got to taste my first one at this lecture and it was a wow!) However I was already scheduled to pull docent duties at a nearby museum for a quilt show that had historic quilts! Stay tuned with more on both the garden tour and the quilts! Meanwhile, hope you enjoy the recipe!