Saturday, August 16, 2014

Last Bountiful Basket day

It's Bountiful Basket Saturday, but it is a day of mourning. It is the last Basket pick up for our location. There is no volunteer who can step up consistently to administer the site so it shut down. It's been a good year and a half.

This week we received:

huge head of cauliflower
bag carrots
red potatoes (lots)
onions (lots)
'big-as-a-baby's head' tomatoes
celery bunch

yellow plums
mangos almost as big as a baby's head
Black Corinth champagne grapes (small that look like blueberries)

Photo is NOT representative- does not include cauliflower, carrots,
potatoes or onions which I already put away and was too lazy to get out
for the picture. I traded my cantaloupe away, too, for more mangoes.
One of the tomatoes of from the swap box.
I read the champagne grapes are susceptible to mildew
so I will need to eat these quickly. I received two containers.

Succulent doesn't cover the magnificent taste of this grape.

About Black Corinth Grapes (AKA Champagne grapes, Zante currants)
--the smallest variety of all seedless grapes.
--one of the few parthenocarpic fruits commercially available.
--in botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy (literally meaning virgin fruit) is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless, says Wikipedia of parthenocarpy.

One of my go-to sites for learning about these different fruits and veggies is Here is what they say about champagne grapes:

Champagne grapes are the individual pearl-sized fragile skinned fruits, aka the berries, of the seedless grape variety, Black Corinth. When eaten fresh, they are known as a table grape. In dried form the Champagne grape is transformed into a raisin, in which they are known as the Zante currant, or dried currant. When the berries are fresh, at their peak maturity, they are intensely sweet and succulent with a mere hint of tartness. As a currant, the grapes' sweetness is magnified, their size dramatically reduced and their texture typical of a raisin
I've just eaten a bunch and they are the BEST GRAPE I ever tasted.

Champagne grapes are ubiquitously utilized for garnishing champagne flutes and decorating desserts and cheese trays. These traditional uses as an accoutrement merely celebrate the fruit as a table grape. The grapes can also be used in many other forms, added to pastries, such as scones, muffins and cakes. Like many other fruits, Champagne grapes make a great addition to fruit cereals, granola and yogurt. They can also be cooked and reduced down into a jelly, added to sauces for savory pairings with lamb, game and pork. In dried currant form the Champagne grapes can also be added to pastries as well as couscous, rice, fruit and green salads and paired equally with aged and fresh cheeses alongside charcuterie meats.
Not bad for $15!!! I sure will miss this. In addition, at the pick-up I chatted with a bunch of friends. It was a nice time.

I will roast the cauliflower, onions, and carrots, and bake the potatoes. I will make pasta and a sauce out of the tomato. I will enjoy the fruit with yogurt, plain, or atop the on-sale pound cake I got.

So I am back to routine for school. Saturday mornings I don't deny myself a leisurely cup of coffee, and I read my bible. But while it's cool, and early, I do chores. I vacuum, put a load of laundry in and do the dishes. On BB Saturdays I clean out the fridge and process the old fruit if I have any left over. This week, I did. I cut up three oranges and threw in a few of the grapes I had left, for an instant fruit salad later. I re-arrange the myriad tupperwares containing left overs and get the fridge ready to receive a batch of new produce. My Basket of fruits and veggies is being soaked right now in a sink full of water and white vinegar.

The vinegar cleanses the produce and a happy bonus is it makes it last a bit longer too. In a moment I'll dry it off and put it away.

I am done with chores and it is only 11:30 in the morning. I have the rest of the day to myself.

What I will do is:

--watch this week's episode of The Quest,
--read more of Elmer Gantry (more on my book buying spree and of good writers in the next essay)
--take a nap
--late this afternoon, write an essay for the other blog.

So that's it, have a good day everyone.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you no longer have your BB. :( Praying the Lord finds a suitable substitute for you, in both quality and price.


Anonymous said...

Those champagne grapes sound amazing...thanks for the information. Sorry you will be losing your Beloved Bountiful Baskets. Hopefully something similar will come along.


Grace to You said...

So that's where black currant jelly comes from! I've been looking for that the last couple of years when I've cooked a small leg of lamb for a Passover meal, but I haven't been able to find it. Maybe I'll look for the grapes and make my own.

Your description of the grapes reminds me of the Concord grapes my grandmother grew in her backyard in Richmond. There is nothing quite like a Concord grape that is still hot from the sun.

Grace to You said...

Hey, btw - why don't you take over the BB?

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Sad that summer is coming to an end. Love you sister, may the Lord provide and supply all your needs. God Bless

Elizabeth Prata said...

Thanks for the well-wishes everyone! I hope it re-opens. Sometimes when friends buy a basket and go to the next closest location, in the city, they said they will pick it up for me. Maybe those two ladies will get trained, as they promised.

Meanwhile, I've learned a LOT about some produce I had not known existed. I learned about Satsuma tangerines, new to this country, and the Black Corinth grapes, lychees, and more. I've cooked and eaten produce I would not have normally picked, like fennel or jicama. It's been a blessing.

Grace To You, I thought about becoming the site administrator, but this school year I've picked up a 2nd job. I will be busy.

Plus, I made a decision in 2006 never to be in charge of anything ever again. Not that I've been unsuccessful when I've been in charge, but for my personality and constitution, it is too taxing. Plus, I hate being in charge. I won't do it if I don't have to. :)

The specialty produce link I put in the essay will have lots of information about the cultivation of the Zante grapes. Yes, exactly, that is where black currant jelly comes from. Some of the grapes had shriveled to near raisin status but they were sweet. I bet black currant jelly has tons of flavor.