Sunday, September 9, 2012


Today we brought in our first grape harvest of the season.  Four years ago we planted a Bluebell grapevine and it's been a good producer.  Bluebell is a table grape and, unfortunately, it has seeds, making for more work.  Last year I used our entire harvest to make grape sorbet.  Delicious!!!  This year we have a lot more to harvest so the first thing I made, today, was grape juice.   Here's the process.

*  Pick the ripe grapes off the stems,  and put them in a large pot.  Mash them with a potato masher.  This was my first problem  - I don't have a potato masher.  Not a big problem though,  I simply put the grapes into my old vintage ricer, crushed the grapes, then dumped the crushed grapes into the pot.

*  The next step is to cook the grapes.  Put the pot on the stove, cover the pot, and bring the heat up to a simmer.  Simmer for ten (10) minutes.

*  Next, the mixture needs to get strained.  This was my second problem.  I planned to use cheesecloth over my pasta strainer, until I looked for my cheesecloth and realized that I had used it up.  So, I got out my large sieve with a fine mesh  and slowly strained the mixture into a bowl.  When that was done, I put it all into a large jar to refrigerate it for use.

The juice is delicious and sweet without adding any sugar.  It is organic and healthy.  This would also be a good base to make sorbet.  That will be my job for the next grape harvest.

P.S.  After posting this I bought a potato masher and made another batch of the grape juice.  The potato masher is the way to go!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


There are so many websites dealing with health and medical issues but one, in particular, stands out -  I subscribe to their free on-line newsletter called "Housecall" which covers a wide variety of interesting topics.  There is also a "symptom checker" that can quickly lead to excellent information on particular maladies.  The newsletter also offers healthy recipes including the following recipe for an agua fresca.


Dietitian's tip:Aguas frescas are popular fresh-fruit drinks in Mexico. Although water is a standard ingredient, this undiluted version is a thirst-quenching refresher whether accompanying spicy foods or sipped in the sun.


    • 2 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed and diced (about 7 cups)
    • 1 cup fruit-sweetened cranberry juice (sometimes called cranberry nectar)
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1 lime, cut into 6 slices


Place the melon in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl to eliminate the pulp and clarify the juice. Pour the juice into a large pitcher. Add the cranberry and lime juices and stir to combine. Refrigerate until very cold. Pour into tall chilled glasses and garnish each with a fresh lime slice.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Calories94Sodium5 mg
Total fat0 gTotal carbohydrate23 g
Saturated fat0 gDietary fiber0 g
Monounsaturated fat0 gProtein1 g
Cholesterol0 mg