Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Local superfood spotlight: Wild Grapes

Wild grapes are in absolute abundance this year.  The vines have climbed from our back patio, over the arbour, up the side wall of the house and to the roof!  We climbed ladders to harvest, and now have pounds and pounds of wild grapes to make into jelly and juice.

Wild grapes, not to be confused with Virginia Creeper berries which often grow right next to the wild grapes (and are toxic!).  Identify them correctly by the grape leaf, the twining vines, and the tart taste of the grapes.  Once you do find them, you will start to see them everywhere - they are a bit of a bully and take over quickly, but are readily pulled down or pruned.

Nutritional highlights!  The darker the grape the richer in nutrition.  These are nutrient dense, as so many of the wild foods are - similar to black raspberries, they contain resveratrol that increases longevity, and high in antioxidants. Wild edible grapes contain vitamins B1, B6, C, manganese and potassium.  Eat them skin, seeds and all.  They are sweet-tart, a definite wild flavour compared to cultivated table grapes, but a delicious acquired taste.  Great for snacking on, and turning into fabulous syrups, drinks, juice, jelly.

The total result of our wild grape harvest amounted to 30 litres of juice!  Plus 12 jars of jelly!  Enough for the winter and more to share.

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