Today I am bottling grape juice. For weeks now I have been pestering my pet farmer to find out when the concords would be ripe. Thursday he reported they're ready. I met him this morning at the Etobicoke Farmers' Market and picked up two bushels. Beautiful fresh things that look more like blueberries than grapes. (And then of course while I was there I had to load up on frilly lettuce and Ontario mushrooms and Scotch Bonnet peppers and Bartlett pears and a fresh, hot apple fritter with amber maple syrup that made me want to weep with pleasure... but I digress).
Ahem. Back to the kitchen. In and out of the garage all day, loading up bowls of grapes to dump into my steam juicer. Wafts of fragrant steam billowing out of the pot. Sticky purple juice the colour of melted crayon. Finger-burning mason jars. The stove ticking like a Ford engine cooling down. The tricky bit trying to get the clamp back on the hose before the juice runs over the top of the jar. The satisfying thuck of lids snapping down and sealing.
Then carting the bowls of steamed, mushy residue out to the composter, where hornets are beginning to gather in delight. Look what I've found, they cry. I clap the lid back on the composter and imagine the heat building, cooking the weed seeds that might be within the black plastic box, something like a pressure cooker. We'll be smelling grapes and dodging hornets for days. Back to the kitchen to start another batch. The jars of gleaming juice forming beautiful rows on the counter; the promise of the taste of summer in winter.