Archive for October 1st, 2013


I baked my first Grape Pie more than 35 years ago, when we first moved to our country home in North Halton. I was looking for a way to use up the grapes on the old Concord grape-vine that was well-established there. Grape pie became a family tradition for Thanksgiving, and I often freeze grapes or a pie for Christmas too. When we moved to Willow House, we missed our Concords. Of course, you can buy grapes in the fall, but it’s not the same as picking your own in the back yard. Consequently, we planted Concord vines 3 years ago, and this year there is enough of a crop for at least two pies.

According to Wikipedia, the Concord grape was developed in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts. Bull planted seeds from wild Vitis labrusca and evaluated over 22,000 seedlings before finding what he considered the perfect grape, the original vine of which still grows at his former home. The new plants we are growing are called Seedless Concords. According to Cornell’s horticulture site, they aren’t really Concords at all, but they look and taste pretty much the same…but without the seeds.


If you are using seeded grapes to make pie, you need to add a step to remove the seeds. Otherwise, your pie will be tooth-crackingly crunchy! Just pop the middles out of the grape skins and heat the middles in a pan for a few minutes over low heat until the seeds are released by the jelly-like centers. Then use a sieve to remove the seeds. Reunite the seedless middles with the skins.

Grape Pie

4-5 cups Concord grapes
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup flour
dash salt

1 Pie Pastry

For topping, mix 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of butter to form a crumb texture.

Stir the pie ingredients together and place in pie shell. Top evenly with crumb topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until top is golden brown. Allow to cool before serving…if you can wait! Great with whipped cream.


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As we were hiking through a piney wood near the end of our Marble Rock hike, I noticed a couple of mushrooms tucked into the pine needles. What caught my eye was a glimpse of mauve blue. It seemed odd, on an otherwise unremarkable mushroom, and I stopped to take a closer look. I photographed the fungi for later identification purposes.

When out hiking, we try to follow the old adage “Tread lightly, take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill only time”. I gently lifted the mushroom cap, attempting to see what sort of a stem it had without disturbing it, but the cap popped off and fell upside-down on the forest floor. I was startled to see a blue liquid leaking from the gills and broken stem. Not pale blue, not watery blue, but bright, vivid blue!

It’s distinctive colouring made this mushroom easy to identify when I got home: Indigo Milk Cap, or Lactarius indigo. Lactarius species are called ‘milk mushrooms’ because when they are cut they bleed a latex-like fluid. The colour of the latex, and whether it changes colour as it oxidizes, helps to identify different species. There are a number of lactarius species that are common and widespread. Lactarius indigo is listed as widespread, but not common, in Ontario. It fruits on the ground in woods. Truly, it is the blue-blood of mushrooms!


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