Grape vines cover the terrace of the house where we are staying, much to the liking of Petit Chat.
It’s nice in the summer for a bit of shade, but we’ve never been around for the grape harvest, or vendanges. Not that I really knew what to do with the grapes anyways. The first thought, of course, was to make wine! But after some googling, I realized I would need to invest in quite a lot of equipment, so we might save that for next year. We decided instead to make some homemade grape juice.
It was the first weekend in October when T deemed the grapes ready for harvest. And even then, they could have used a bit more sun.
First, cut off a bunch of bunches and put them in a pot of water to clean them up. Then picked off the individual grapes (it’s OK if there are some stems).
After that, working in batches, you need a bit of elbow grease to mash up the grapes.
The resulting mess is called moût, or “must” in English (learned a new word, thanks Wikipedia). Throw the must into a big pot and bring it to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, mashing a bit more halfway through. To filter the grape juice, you can use cheesecloth or a fine mesh colander, but we just used a dish towel that we tied over a large pot. After about an hour, squeeze out the remaining juice and voilà!
Once it cools you can keep it in the fridge for a few days – it will start fermenting around day three. We decided to freeze most of the grape juice, though it apparently loses a bit of flavor compared to fresh juice.
What to do with grape juice? You can drink it for breakfast, or drink it for cocktail hour! We mixed it with a bit of rum and some sparkling water. I need some help coming up with a name for the drink!