This week I experienced my first real grape harvest. Sure, I’d had managed to grow a few small clusters before – just enough to get a taste. But this year was the first year that I’ve been able to grow enough grapes to eat all I wanted fresh, plus harvest enough to make up some delicious grape jelly for the winter.
I have four different varieties growing in my yard here in central Alberta, but the two varieties that are mature enough to produce are my Valiant Grapes, and my Marechael Foch Grapes. The valiant grapes are larger than the marechael grapes (though still smaller than what you might find in the grocery store) and are packed with flavour! In fact, they are very similar in flavour to the Concord grapes that you buy in the store.
I have them growing on the south side of my garage on a trellis with my Kiwis. (Yes, you heard right… with MY KIWIS.) I’ve found this location to work great for three reasons!
- They get piles of sun.
- They are protected from the wind (and they grab a bit of extra warmth from the garage.)
- They get lots of water since all the rain that falls on the garage roof drips down right in front of them.
However, I’m sure that she’ll enjoy the grape jelly that I made up yesterday. And that was a pretty simply process too.
First, my son and I took our snippers to the grape vines and gathered up about five pounds.
Next, we strained out the juice with a cheesecloth, added the sugar and Certo Pectin, and brought that to a boil for another minute.
All that was left after that was to pour it in jars and shortly thereafter, spread it on fresh bread!
And all that to say that it’s really true: Grape growing is not reserved for California or Italy. Not even British Colombia. Grapes can actually grow in Alberta! Try it – I think you’ll like it!