When life gives you grapes, make grape leather


Black Magic (1st harvest)

Sixty-five pounds of grapes! That’s the sum total of the 3 varieties (Black Magic, Sublima, Uva Fragola) harvested at home this year. There was so much ripening at once that we had to buy a small fridge (college dorm size) to store them, and still it was a game of Tetris making sure each days pickings was tucked in neatly. Some went to family and coworkers, but most ended up on the table at breakfast or served as snacks until it felt like I had grapes coming out of my ears.

Well, all of those purple clusters must’ve knocked loose a memory of how much I loved to eat Fruit Roll-Ups. Remember those back in the day? Natural goodness and fun to eat, one torn piece at a time. It just never occurred to me how much fruit goes into one sheet of those things, so for the sake of keeping notes, these photos should come in handy next year.


6 pounds of Uva Fragola / Concord grapes


On the stove for approximately 90 minutes at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.


Cooked until reduced to the consistency of thin syrup (it will thicken as it cools).


Pressing through a sieve: once to remove skins, then again (the pressed pulp) to extract more juice. Don’t forget to scrape the underside of the sieve to add to the juice.

Spread to the thickness of 1/8 inch (3 mm), 6 pounds of Concord grapes should yield 3-4 cookie trays. I’ve used silicone mats and baking parchment. Dried some in the oven (the lowest heat setting possible) and also in the sun. It took several hours in the oven, but sun-drying required 2 days. I brought the sun-dried ones in for the evening.


All natural, no added sugar or preservatives, and nothing goes to waste. That grape pulp went straight into the compost bin. These won’t last long so I keep them out in a covered container.