Grape Must

We had a poor outcome of our grape crops this year, despite being laden with fruit, mid August and mid September rains, ruined the bulk of our grapes.

Two, well known and traditional uses for the grape must are must jelly and grape syrup, (μουσταλευριά και πετιμέζι)

Wanting to make grape must jelly, I called at our local market at the end of their day and bought loose grapes, which had fallen from the bunches, a cheaper option than buying bunches.  I bought approximately 16/17 kilos and pressed them in a large washing bowl (I trod them).

Grape Musting (1) (Small)

Grape Musting (2) (Small)

Placing the trodden grapes into clean pillow cases, I trod them further to make sure I`d caught every single grape and then hung them to drip all of their juice.

Grape Musting (3) (Small)

Squeezing them further, I achieved approximately 10/11 litres of must.

Cleaning the Must

This means removing all the sediment which settles at the bottom of the must, with, believe it or not, wood ash!  When you add wood ash to the must, and boil, it foams and rises to the surface, but it acts like a magnet and catches the sediment in the must too, bringing it to the surface also, which we then skim off with a slotted spoon.

The sediment has a grainy quality and spoils the dessert, so I consider this procedure vital.  It`s a bit fiddly, but very rewarding, and seeing as I`ve gone to the effort of treading grapes, I feel it`s worth going the extra mile to “clean” the must.

Procedure

If you have a wood burning stove, or an outside barbeque with the cinders and ashes of your last fire, take a few cup fulls of the cinders and ashes, sieve them to obtain the finest ash.  Make sure that no plastics have been burnt in the fire.  This is what we use in the cleaning process.

You`ll need 1 dessertspoon full of wood ash for each litre of must.  Add the ash to the pan with the must and stir it in.  Bring to the boil.  When it foams up, it will be a dirty, muddy colour.

Grape Musting (4) (Small)Skim this off with the slotted spoon and continue boiling and repeating this procedure until it stops creating foam. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 24 hours.

Grape Musting (5) (Small)

The next day, pour the must into a fresh pan, leaving behind any sediment which may have remained.  If you see that there is still sediment present, leave to settle again for a couple of hours and pour again, into a fresh pan, leaving the sediment behind.

Now your must is ready for use.  You can even freeze it, allowing you access to this lovely dessert all year round.

Tomorrow I`ll make the grape must jelly and upload the recipe on a separate post.