Tuesday, October 02, 2012

In the Kitchen :: Calder's Grapes

Seems our whole town is filled with grapes this time of year.

We had some fabulous seedless, concord-type dark purple beauties at our friends' last week.

We glean sweet green clusters from the corner vine on our way home from school, or on our evening walks and bike rides.

Last Sunday, a friend brought a 20-pound basket of delicate pinot gris grapes to an evening gathering 'round the fire pit.  At the end of the night everyone took heaping handfuls home.

We've been enjoying them fresh the past couple days.  I knew we had too many to eat before loosing some, so I decided to freeze a few clusters.  Frozen grapes were a common treat growing up.  But it's been years since I thought of making them, especially since lately I've put more time and research into dehydrating and canning produce.

They look so pretty with that fine dusting of frost.

Calder definitely prefers the fresh grapes to the frozen.  I'll try to save those for the rest of us to enjoy later in the season.  For now we'll gorge ourselves on the clusters straight from the vine.  Such a feeling of bounty!

When Calder gets out of school in the afternoons he's usually really hungry.  There's often the same group of parents and kids out front by the bike racks, and together we all dig into the lunch boxes to eat what was skipped back in the cafeteria.  (I admit to going straight for the cashews and the sungold cherry tomatoes.  But there's never any nori left.)

This afternoon, Lake came home from an errand with me on the bike and was so tired he fell asleep in a patch of sunlight on the living room floor.  I had to call a friend to pick up Calder from school, and when he got home we sat at the table and shared a snack together, hard boiled eggs and fresh pinot gris grapes.  

It's been wonderful to sit here with him while he draws and talk about school, the songs he's learning, the friends he's gaining, all the familiar faces he sees from our neighborhood in the halls, the playground, the lunch room.  The first week or so was tough for Calder.  He did not look forward to the drop-offs in the morning.  But now I'd have to say he loves it.  In fact, he says he loves it.  So I couldn't be more pleased with where we are right now.

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