CNY is surrounded by concord grape orchards. Whenever you drive through the mountains outside of Syracuse, the delicious smell of grapes attacks your nose and its hard to banish it until you are safely out of wine country. Not that that is a problem of course.
Last year while driving back from Farm Sanctuary, i found myself obsessed with buying up grapes with no real purpose in mind. For just a few dollars, i was able to walk away with roughly ten pounds of these deeply colorful orbs. My brilliant idea? Make pie.
So I get home, I Google grape pie, and what do I see? That I need a food mill. Did I have one? No. Balls.
Rather then let the grapes sit in my fridge and die and toy, i decided to freeze them for the day when I finally did get a good mill.
Fast forward to eight months later. The fridge dies, as does my giant frozen grape hoard.
A few months later, thanks to Groupon, i have a food mill! And to bust its cherry, i found grapes!
Okay, to the good stuff.
This was more of a trial and error then anything else. It wasn’t as horrible of an experience as I had once thought it would be and by no means is it my last.
I started out making pie filling. Turns out, you have to squirt the grape guts out and cook those separate. That alone took roughly 30 minutes. It felt like what I imagine popping an eyeball would feel like.
After that, I cook the guts for about twenty minutes, let them simmer and break down.
I then, against my better judgment, added the skins to the mix and let that cook another minute or two. It turned a deep, dark purple and was the color I would one day like to dye my hair.
Anyway, bad move.
I assembled my food mill, dumped the grapes in, and surprise surprise, the only the. Get to come out of there was liquid.
Lots of it.
Silly me, I was supposed to process the grapes first, THEN add the skins.
So what was I go do with this giant batch of concord grape juice? Psh, ill make gello!
I’ve never worked d with agar agar powder before and was anxious to try. I was under the assumption that is would gel quickly and almost instantly.
And I’m anxious.
Thinking it didn’t work after letting it fully cool in the fridge, i boiled it again and added a packet of vegan gello.
Then I went to bed.
Fast forward to this morning. I skurry out of bed to the fridge and low and behold, what do I find?! A super dense block of jiggly grape goo!
Maybe I should have been more patient with the agar… Because this block is solid. I’m pretty certain if I dropped it from my roof, it would bounce.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s edible and tasty, but it isn’t the “jello jiggler” I was hoping for.
For a first try, it wasn’t bad though.
Next time, patience.