We recently spent a week in Ohio visiting Sue’s family. It’s fun to go there in early October, before the fall color has really started much in Missouri, because we get a taste of things to come.
Burnham Orchards, for instance, has its fall festival every weekend in October, while here in Missouri the apples hadn’t really come on yet. So we brought home a big bag of Honeycrisps, Cortlands, Blondies, and Melroses. And in northern Ohio, the air was already getting crisp, and several maples were starting to blaze with color—while it was still in the eighties in Missouri, with green tones of summer stubbornly holding on.
We always enjoy our visits there. And we even had a meal at Berardi’s, where the special that evening was a Polish sampler plate: pierogies, sausage, noodles, and cabbage. Sue had the Lake Erie perch, and we shared. Variety is the spice of life!
Anyway, Sue’s sister, Lynn, sent us home with a lovely jar of her homemade Concord grape jelly. It’s made from the Concords they grow in their own backyard. As you might expect from Lynn, she did it up pretty, using Ball’s nifty purple-glass canning jars and a bit of pretty purple fabric and lace to dress up the lid. (It’s almost as if she knew that purple is my favorite color!)
We haven’t opened the jar yet (we’ll do that on some chilly morning when we make biscuits from scratch), but while we were in Ohio we got a sample of it from Sue’s mom.
Wow. It tasted just— Well, how can I describe it? Do you think you’ve tasted grape jelly before?
Listen to me: there’s a reason why people make their own grape jelly, even though you can buy it at the store for cheap, and making homemade’s kind of a headache. The homemade actually tastes like Concord grapes. The flavor is complex, fresh, fruity, tart, and sweet. And the texture is . . . rich.
There’s no comparison.
Wonder if I can subscribe to her jelly-of-the-month club—?