Making Muscadine Jelly

 During the last week in August -- the week when the garden is plowed for the fall garden - not much is  growing but the weeds. Heat and humidity reign. We move at a snails pace because that's about as fast as the wet air will let us travel.
 This is the week the muscadines are fully ripe and hanging heavy on the vine. They are perfectly plump and juicy. The size of golf balls. Rose pink globes bulge. One bite yields and entire gulp of sweet juice. We've been eating them for a month. William loves to walk out and make a pocket with his shirt full of them and eat and share them. He loves to show people the muscadines and pass them out when people visit. Now, we've got to do something besides snack on them. It's jelly time. We've learned to turn canning day into a party-- or at least ask for help.

 This year, sweet friends Bev, Mikean, and Liz joined me on a sunny Sunday afternoon to pick and wash and juice and squeeze and boil and pour. We finished with nine quarts of gorgeous delicious jelly.  I love working with women in my kitchen. There is such camaraderie. We just talk and teach and ask questions and work and laugh and eat and taste and move. It's like a dance. The canning dance.

  It's a process. It has steps and it is a bit tedious, but the sweetness of voices and human bodies and hands and feet work. It just works. We wait for the jars to talk back to us, "pop", to let us know their sealed. They are slow, but finally the popping started later in the evening. The jars are filled with golden sweet jelly -- ready for biscuits tomorrow or on a cold January morning.
 I know these women better now. Not because they told me a long story about their lives; but, because we did something together.  They helped me with a task that isn't fun alone; yet, perfectly lovely with company.


  1. so beautiful! that is such an amazing capture of Bev!!

  2. It might be the best picture I've ever taken!!!


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