The grapes have always been as much pip as fruit from our garden, this most likely being down to my lack of thining them out in the early summer as they start to bud on the vine. There is plenty of fruit though, and each year I have done something with a little of it, be it a grape jam or used in place of gooseberries for a mackerel sauce, tart as they are.
This year I am going to use the harvest to make bottles of ‘shrub’ which is a drink made with equal parts fruit, sugar and vinegar, a syrup being the first step before the vinegar is added pre bottling. There is a similar vinegar-based drink I’ve often maded called ‘switchel’ which is ginger, lime, vinegar, honey and water. That’s more immediate whereas this one develops over the course of a week or so, mellowing as it goes.
There are a few sad looking berries in the fridge so they will flavour one bottle and the remaining will be pure garden grapes. Although saying that, the other day I stuck some cinnamon sticks in a bottle of cider vinegar. That now tastes amazing and will add something special. I’ll set aside one bottle for that. It looks like there will be a little experimenting going on as I start to make use of the final fruits from the garden.
Next up I’ll be bringing in the remaining and still growing tomatoes –all green– as the fading sun of autumn refuses to ripen any more.