Harvest season is upon us and the Grape Family just spoke to me. Consider how many things the fruit of grapes are connected to in our culture: jelly, wine, raisins, stuffed grape leaves, stories, religious services, myths and legends. And if that isn’t enough, the powerful anti-oxidant Resveratrol that is extracted from the skins of red grapes!
“There are 4 genera and 40 species in temperate North America” and all wild grapes are edible and young leaves and tendrils are edible”, are according to Pat. Please do not confuse these species with Virginia Creeper or Moonseed as they are both poisonous.
This does not include European table grape species. “Be sure you recognize them and tell them from wild grapes.” All edible grapes can be considered a superfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and anthocyanins, they are literally one of the best things that we can eat. More is being discovered by food researchers on just how good they are. A good grape juice may be one of the keys to a long, healthy life. The key is found in the grape pigment resveratrol. This pigment my be one of the reasons the Mediterranean Diet is so healthy as it includes vegetable heavy recipes, red wine, table grapes and olive oil.
Wild grape grows in my yard and I mix the wild grapes with my Concords and Catawba vines. Every year I make grape jelly for holiday gifting. Here is the basic grape jelly recipe:
2 cups grape juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
½ box pectin
“Crush 4 cups grapes in a glass or enamel pot with ½ cup water. Simmer 15 minutes.
Cool for 30 minutes. Stain to obtain 2 cups grape juice. Mix the juice and pectin to a hard boil. Add sugar and hard boil again. Boil and stir for 3 minutes the skim off foam and pour into sterile jelly jars and seal.
A lower sugar jelly can be made by using Pomona Pectin (available online) and substituting stevia, xylitol, and or agave sweeteners in place of the sugar. Extra grape juice can be added to smoothies.
This excerpt is from and a sample of some of the recipes available From Pat
Armstrong’s Wild Plant Family Cookbook available in Kindle, Nook and PDF for download from Blazing Star Inc. where we, dare say it, eat the weeds.
Caron Wenzel is the owner of Blazing Star Inc. a 23 year old native plant seed nursery and environmental consulting and education business. The web site is Blazing-Star.com and Pat’s e-book is available in PDF, Kindle, or Nook format from the site.