Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Michaelmas grapes

"The Michaelmas daisies, among dead weeds, bloom for St. Michael's valorous deeds." 

St. Michael the Archangel, my patron saint, is dear to my heart. September 29th is the Michaelmas, the holy feast dedicated to St. Michael and all the angels. Michael is the warrior angel-saint mentioned five times in the Bible and always in a warlike fashion, three times by Daniel, once by St. Jude, and by St. John in Revelation. Michaelmas is a harvest day of sorts, traditionally a day when harvest needed to be completed as an end to the productive season in preparation for the next. The canonical color of the Michaelmas is white.

Traditionally, there are many ways to celebrate the Michaelmas, some vegetarian options being the old Scottish tradition of "Carrot Day": digging carrots and giving them away as a good deed, harvesting blackberries (the Michaelmas regarded as the last day to pick them), and baking loaves of bread. Alas, I don't have carrots, and I don't particularly like picking blackberries as the thorns are sharp and the berries are usually wormy, nor do I have flour to bake bread at the moment. However, I do have grapes. So I chose to be different and celebrate Michaelmas by picking grapes from my garden and making grape jelly. Yay!

Garden grapes ready for harvest.

Washing and about to de-stem for mashing and cooking.

Until the arrival of Michaelmas, I'll be picking the grapes and making lots of jelly to give as a gift in honor of St. Michael (before the raccoons get their paws on them like they have in the past, those bandit-faced beasts).

The recipe I used to make grape jelly is found here - highly recommended and a lot of fun!

Happy Michaelmas!

For more information, please see:

Saints and Festivals of the Christian Church by H. Pomeroy Brewster