When I asked Papa about where to find possum grapes like we used to pick, I was surprised when he said there were some in the tree next to the hay barn. I was even more surprised when we checked it and found that it was loaded with grapes. I got about three small buckets just picking what I could reach standing on the ground or on a small step ladder. Of course, that was stem and all.
After I picked them, the girls helped me sort and stem them. Savannah was the bigger help, obviously. Caroline mostly just put the grapes that I took off the stem in the pot for me. Other than getting a little purple-stained, this is such a great activity for little kids. I didn’t measure how many grapes we ended up with.
After the grapes were rinsed, I heated them in two batches and let them simmer until cooked. Grandma always brought them to an actual boil and let them cook until they popped. I didn’t go that extreme on cooking them, but I did cook them a little more than the Ball Blue Book suggests on turning standard grapes into unsweetened juice.
Possum grapes have a large seed area, which makes them more useful for juicing. I would put a big scoop of them in a mesh sieve and work the juice and a little pulp out through with a large spoon. Juicing by hand is hard work, but it yielded some great product! I ended up with two pots mostly full of juice. I set them in the fridge for heating and processing the day.