Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Grapes are not just for wine

We are blessed to live in a Mediterranean climate in the stunningly beautiful South West corner of Western Australia, and not far from three prime vineyard, grape growing, and premium wine making areas - Geographe, Margaret River and Pemberton. 


According to my preserves book, Australia's Home Made Jams & Preserves, compiled by CSR -  The history of grape growing in Australia goes back to 1791 when Governor Phillip (Australia's first Governor who lead the First Fleet to Australia in 1788) provided grape cuttings and granted 140 acres of land on the north bank of the Parramatta River at the farming settlement of Rose Hill (as Parramatta was then called) in New South Wales to Phillip Schaffer who started what must have been one of the first vineyards in Australia.  Ten years later, two Frenchmen also began producing wine at Parramatta and the Australian wine industry began. 



For as along as I can remember my family have always had a grape vine in their backyard. When my mother and father moved to live in a retirement village nearer to us, I brought a piece of their vine with me. My son also took cuttings to grow in his garden. You can see our grape vine in this picture. We put net over it to keep out the birds, however they still seem to find a way in!



A few months after Mum and Dad were married Dad became Depot Supervisor with the Vacuum Oil Co at Goomalling (a country wheatbelt town in Western Australia). They moved there on 15th February, 1952. In the backyard of their rented house there was a grape vine with grapes hanging on it. Dad went to the store and bought a preserving pan and they made their first grape jam. Ever since, up until they moved to our town, they have had a grape vine in their back yard and made grape jam every year in that same preserving pan.  
 Dad still makes grape jam. In fact he made some this weekend from grapes which came from the vine in my yard.
Here are some stages of the grapes. 


My son and I carry on our family's grape jam making tradition. I fact, surprisingly, considering we live in a grape growing region, I have never seen grape jam anywhere else! Perhaps it is the huge job of taking out the seeds that is the problem! But I think the result is worth it.

The basic recipe is half the amount of sugar to weight of grapes. We always pluck the grapes off the bunches the night before, weigh them and put them in the pan ready to cook the next morning. Squish up the grapes with your hands to let the juice out. (I have great memories of helping to do this as a child out on our back patio. I loved the squishy feeling of the grapes between my fingers)
You don't need any water as there is plenty of juice. I usually throw in a couple of halved lemons and take them out later, as the pectin in the lemon peel helps the jam set. Cook the grapes for about an hour before adding the sugar. The seeds will rise to the top during cooking, and you will need to scoop them out. A seedless grape would probably make great jam as the seed removing is a huge job!


The scones you see in the bottom photo where made with unprocessed ground wheat flour straight from my brother-in-law and nephews farm at Bruce Rock.  The jam jar with the brown lid is a special jar with unusual cut sides. My mother gave me this jar and I always use it for grape jam. 

When I was a child and Mum was making pastry for a pie if there was any left she would roll it out in a rough shape, bake it and then spread jam on it. I still do this - I guess it is one of those childhood memories I hold on to. I am sure we all have memories we cherish from our childhood.

 
The last few weeks I have been doing a Lightroom e-course with Kim Klassen. Below you can see some different versions of the scones. I rather like the bottom right hand one - sort of an antique rustic country look.


 When the autumn comes I still enjoy photographing my grape vine.


To close, a little quote from Ruth Tearle.


 Do you make jam? Have you ever tasted grape jam?
Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing from you.Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up with  Mosaic Monday at Little Red House. And also Our World Tuesday  
Please click on the links to see the offerings of contributors from around the world.

To learn more about some of Western Australia's wine growing regions you can visit the websites of the Geograph, Margaret River, and Pemberton wine regions.

You can also learn more about the Geographe wine region at Jo Castro's fabulous Western Australian travel and lifestyle blog - Zig-a-Zag -  click on the link here - Wineries in the Geographe Wine Region 

 You might also like - 
Spring Jam making  
Cumquats from tree to marmalade 
 

25 comments:

  1. Haha, I love your mosaic of the grape stages! The first two shots look familiar but I haven't experienced the last two stages because the birds always get them at around that point - along with the quinces!!! I've won country show prizes for my jam - especially plum, pear/ginger and melon/lemon/ginger (my favourite!) - but it's a tough job competing with CWA experts!!!

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    1. I love plum jam - we were just talking about it the other day. And quinces! I adore them! Occasionaly we see them in the market and I always buy some. Yes the CWA experts - a force to be reackoned with!

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  2. Thanks so much for linking to my post about the Geographe Bay wineries, Jill!
    I love the diversity of this post you've written here; the little bit of history you give us, the story about your family tradition with grapes, vines and jam making, and finally Ruth's quote.
    Your lightroom photography is going from strength to strength too - awesome :)

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    1. Your travel blog is so amazing Jo I am very happy to promote it. Anyone thinking of travelling to Western Australia should make it their first port of call.

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  3. I just love this post :)
    One reason is that I am in the throes of winter and snow here in western PA / USA

    The other reason is that when I was younger and still married to my boys dad..I planted a grapevine and the following year harvested the grapes. Made juice and jam and will never forget that first year...the house smelled like heaven from the scent of it all and what I made tasted just like Welch's! :) Your post was a pleasant reminder of those times! :)

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    1. I am glad i have brought back happy memories for you.

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  4. Jill, I love this post showing the various stages of grapes growing and your jam making. The scones and jam look delicious. It also nice to read some of your family history. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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  5. Oh, great photos! I love grape jam, jellies and of course wine!

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  6. What a great and tasty look at your world!!! Wonderful, interesting post/photos for the day, Jill! Hope you have a great week! Enjoy!!

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  7. Oh this was a great series! The grapes look so good, the story was wonderful. And the grape jam was just the crowning glory. Yes, I used to make jam, but I don't think it ever looked that gorgeous! Thanks for sharing...I loved this post.

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  8. I have never seen or tasted grape jam but it looks delicious on those scones.

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  9. that is a very nice (and true) quote.

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  10. What delicious and lovely shots.

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  11. Great photos of the grape vine and grapes through the season. I've never made grape jam but it sounds delicious. My Mum also used to bake left over pastry and then we'd have it with jam and cream on it!

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    1. amazing! well you must have been very "poash" to have jam AND cream! Just jam for us!

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  12. Thank you all dear readers! I am glad you have enjoyed reading about grape jam. I hope I haven't given away the family secret recipe! No.... it is in the "Golden Wattle Cookbook" - well-known by generations of Australian high school girls.

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  13. Hi there - nice post. Home made jam - its one of the wonders of modern civilisation!

    Bruny Island is well worth a visit if you get the chance.

    My next but one post on my wordy blog is will be about it.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  14. I have not made jam for ages. Maybe this year I will rectify that!

    mollyxxx

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  15. Oh Yes, I have had homemade Grape Jam, that my beloved mother used to prepare with her loving hands. I adored her and her jams, were so special. Oh to have a jar remaining. When she passed away, we all got the jars with the gifts inside and her homemade apple butter, was also amazing. I went over 5 years, before I finally opened and used that last jar. I really like what you did with Kim Klaussen's texture ideas. Somewhere on my desktop hard drive, I own a how to for her layers and textures, but never figured out how to use it with my set-up...hmmm, wonder if I can locate that. Thank you for this, it gave me reason to remember momma even more~

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    1. I am glad my post brought special memories to you of your mother Mary. There is something about opening a jar of preserves that was made my yourself or someone you love.

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  16. This is a wonderful post! The photos are beautiful.

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  17. I copied the grape recipe. Boom and I will try it. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  18. What e great pos and very interesting. I never had grape jelly but I certainly love Australian wine.

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  19. Excellent landscape of vineyards. Some photos beautiful and creative, full of light and color.

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  20. Hi Jill. Lovely photos!

    The Margaret River is blessed with great soil and just the right climate to grow grapes. Though these grapes are commonly used for wine production, making jam out of grapes is definitely a good idea!

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