I’m no horticulturalist, but there is one domain of fruit cultivation where I am quite competent: grapes. In our backyard we have a very large grapevine, which I’ve been lovingly tending for the last 13 years. And every September its grape harvest time, and this always means lots of grape juice for the whole family. The process is straightforward but labor intensive.
First, I pick the grapes in clusters.
Next, I pull the grapes off of the stems and rinse them. Then, its time to mash them into a mush.
After adding some water, I boil them—usually for about 20 minutes.
Next, I strain them using a colander. About five pounds of grapes yields approximately one gallon of grape juice concentrate.
For the final step, I add water (approximately doubling the volume) and sugar (say, 1.5 cups per gallon). The result is a rich, still relatively concentrated grape juice that is as loaded with antioxidants as it is full of flavor.
As I said, I’m not really into horticulture, nor am I a culinary artist. But this annual endeavor gives me a much greater understanding and appreciation for both of these vocations. It also has enabled me to see the spiritual illustrations in both domains. Interestingly, Jesus used metaphors from agriculture (e.g., the parable of the sower, the vine and the branches, the wheat and the tares, etc.) as well as the culinary realm (e.g. the wedding banquet, communion, the bread of life, etc.). The annual Spiegel grape harvest reminds me of these and tunes my mind to many other such metaphors . . . as well as blessing my palate and nourishing my body with garden-fresh juice!