With all good intentions to be back in blog-land on a regular basis, life got a bit too big over the last month. And mostly because it kept reminding me it doesn’t go on forever. That’s the big bit, the rest I can handle. I’ve said goodbye to some truly beautiful souls this month, and been cheerleading for others who are going through serious illnesses, and in all the moments that my stomach has been flipped with raw emotion, and all the analysing of what could or couldn’t be, the very simplest notion has surfaced, slowly but surely; whether a soul is physically with you or not, you have the choice to keep loving them. So each time my hands dropped from covering my face and slid into place over my heart, I tried to just keep loving. It didn’t always work, but when you strip everything back, what else is there to do? The sadness is just another way love wraps itself up. The silver lining concept doesn’t always sit well when you’re in the thick of things though, more than happy to be the first to acknowledge that. Silver seems to be the chosen colour of our elusive buddy, perspective.
That hit home in all sorts of ways over the last month too. Not least in what was happening in the garden with the crazy weather we had going on – extreme heat followed by torrential rain for 3 days straight. I was so relieved for all of our animals and the land itself, that I forgot to be upset by what it did to the bounty of grapes we had almost ready for picking on our few vines. When you are surrounded by vignerons though, it doesn’t take long to be reminded as to what that kind of weather can do to an entire year’s worth of work prior to harvest. Agriculture’s a tricky game to play if you try to force your hand. I’ve been working with Maggie Beer for the last 9 or so years and she’s such a great ‘silver lining hunter’, which is why verjuice was the first thing that came to mind when I saw all of our unripe grapes had split. It’s exactly how things happened for Maggie all those years ago too – provenance or perspective, whichever name you give it, rolling with the punches seems to be the best way to honour the ‘bigness’ of it all. Little things never stay small for long when you remember to leave a seat spare for perspective. I’m so grateful for that. And for intuitive grape stealing puppies who jump into your life just when you need them the most. Little Wolfie had no problem finding the positive in a basket of just picked grapes, ripe or not. God, it made me laugh to watch him.
So, verjuice. You may have come here for a recipe after all! This is exactly how Maggie suggested making verjuice to me, without going through the stabilising process she needs to. This is truly the homemade option, and super simple. You’ll just need unripe green grapes, a juicer and some ice cube trays. And then whenever the mood for risotto, pasta, quinoa, soup, salad dressings, or fancy roasted veggies should strike, you just pop a couple of ice cubes from the freezer and you’ll be banging on about verjuice like you were Maggie herself! It’s really good stuff.
As many organic unripe green grapes as provenance will muster
Just juice the grapes and pour into ice cube trays to keep frozen for when you need verjuice in any recipe. The freezing process simply halts any fermentation of the grape juice, keeping that wonderful bite to the verjuice. Use it wherever you would use lemon juice or white wine in a recipe. I love drinking it with sparkling mineral water too.