Thursday, November 8, 2012

Juice Anxiety

I got some grapes.  A kind neighbor brought two boxes of small but deliciously tart purple grapes over.  The kids were beside themselves with excitement - until they found out there were seeds involved.  They were less than impressed with the "yucky parts."  I wanted to juice them, and maybe make some jelly.

I went down into the dungeon storage room and lugged out my mom's old graniteware steamer juicer.  I'd show you a picture, but my camera is not at home, and I can't even find a picture of the old thing on the internet anywhere!  It's that old.  It's like a big canning pot, except that there are three sections: the bottom one holds boiling water, the top holds fruit, and the steamed juice drips into the middle.  You get the juice through plastic tubing hooked onto a spout in the bottom of the middle pan.  

I washed all the grapes (with a lot of help and six little hands splashing in the kitchen sink), and loaded the top pan.  I made sure to fill the bottom pan with enough water, stacked all the pans, and carefully lifted the whole, heavy monster to the stove.  After simmering for a while, a rich, syrupy smell floated through the house.  It was heavenly.  

When enough juice collected in the middle pan, I was ready to unkink the hose and fill quart bottles with fresh grape juice.  And then I was paralyzed with childhood memories.  

When I was a little girl, my mom was doing a load of fruit... apples maybe?  I don't remember.  I do remember that she carefully poured a bit of hot juice into a cup and let me taste it as soon as it had cooled enough to not burn.  My young mouth was delighted, and as soon as she left the room, I wanted more.

I had seen how she unhooked the hose - and yummy juice came out!  I could do it, too.  I don't think I need to paint in too much detail the picture that followed.  Boiling juice all over me, the counters, gushing out the hose, pooling on the floor, my mother upset, little me crying...   I remember that it was a disaster and I certainly learned my lesson.

Decades later, I can't unhook the hose without worrying that I'll make such a colossal mess.  Isn't it interesting how memories can come flooding (bad pun, sorry) back when you least expect it?  Today I miss my mom, but with a smile on my face.  Thanks for not killing me, Mom!

And I successfully got a few quarts of really tasty grape juice to enjoy later!

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