Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Best Part of Late Summer

School children wimper and wail as Summer winds down and slowly eases into Fall, but those of us past the age of romping barefoot in fields of clover, chasing firelies and sucking honeysuckle have reasons to celebrate. While temperatures still dance in the low nineties, late summer fruits are in full harvest.


Great grapes! It's time for grapes. Not the grapes available year round in the supermarket...those marevelously thick hulled grapes grown on arbors in back-yards and wild grapes with vines climbing sturdy old trees in secret places. Forget the ragweed, pick up your buckets and baskets and head out for Scuppernongs and Muscadines!

If you've never experienced it, you should give it a try. Take a grape and look for the point where it grew from the vine. Place it half-way between your lips and gently bite down until the juicy flesh pops into your mouth. Chew softly, separating the pulp from the seed. Your tastebuds will dance, your nostrils will flare, your eyes will light up.

These delights are native to the southern United States and make marvelous jelly and wine. But truly, they are best enjoyed with your feet propped on the porch rail, popping them in your mouth and discarding seeds and skins into a piece of newspaper while watching the sun set on another late summer day.

If you aren't fortunate enough to have a neighbor or friend with a vine, certain supermarkets will carry them for a short time. I've found them at the Piggly Wiggly, Publix, and even Walmart. Life is an adventure..try something new!

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