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This month, lots of things in my garden are coming in and need to be picked. Every year I try to get creative and do different things. This year is no exception.

First off, I have a grape vine growing Suffolk Seedless Grapes. They turn a really nice red color and unfortunately have become very popular with wasps. It has become apparent I will lose the race if I try to wait until they are fully ripe. Just last week, I lost 7 clusters to the evil winged monsters. So, I decided to harvest them ahead of schedule. Here’s what I did as kitchen experiments with the grapes.

For one half, I pickled them. Yep, pickled them. The ingredients are vinegar, sugar, rosemary, chopped garlic, and red pepper flakes. I found the recipe on the American Public radio station website. Were they successful. Well, my husband loves martinis. He usually puts olives in them. Not anymore. Now it’s pickled grapes. I’m worried I’ll not have any left over for me to eat.

The next grape experiment was making raisins. I had my dehydrator out for tomatoes, which I’ll talk about in a bit. I took the other half of the grapes and put them on the racks to dry. Sweet isn’t an adequate word to describe the taste. Oh my goodness. Now, I’m trying to figure out which I like more – pickled or dried grapes. Next year, after installing some kind of netting to ward off the wasps, I’ll try both. Or maybe some wine. Who knows.

Now, on to the last experiment. I love sun dried tomatoes. This year I have a bumper crop of tomatoes so I quartered several and put them in the dehydrator. That’s not new. What was new is what I did with the dried tomatoes. I found a recipe that I sort of followed that layered the sun dried tomatoes in a jar, in the following order: one layer tomatoes, add in some chopped garlic, some dried oregano, some kosher or sea salt, a layer of basil leaves, then repeat again the same items to the top of the jar. Note – the basil leaves are from my garden too. Pour olive oil to cover the entire mixture. Again, this was awesome and I can’t decide if I like the tomatoes or the flavor-infused olive oil best. Truly, a grand experiment.

It is pretty cool to harvest food from your garden and then create wonderful tastes in the kitchen using those ingredients. I just love summers and the fruit of our labors in the yard.

Here’s links to the recipes I found using Google to help me with my experiments.

Pickled grapes: http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/app_pickled_grapes.html

Olive Oil and Dried Tomatoes: http://www.scordo.com/2009/08/recipe-homemade-sun-dried-tomatoes-olive-oil.html

Ciao y’all