Sea Grape, Coccoloba uvifera

Vegan Sea Grape Jelly Recipe, by Cara Reynolds

2 to 3 quarts of sea grapes

8 cups fruit juice from sea grapes

8 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lime juice

Select ripe and partly ripe sea grapes. Wash and place in large pot, add water to not quite cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and soak until tender. Squeeze juice out by hand or strain through jelly bag, then measure juice.

To each 8 cups of juice obtained, add 8 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lime juice.

Cook to 225 degrees, which will take about 27 minutes. When it reaches the jelly stage, skim and pour into sterile jars and seal. Makes eight 1/2 pound jars.

A year ago I met Señor Alvarado a few blocks from this plant.

A dignified, acute man shuffled across the room with a gold key ring in his left hand. In navy slacks and a grey sport coat with small rips at the seams, his haircut reminded me of my grandfather.

The pianist and I made eye contact as he slowly settled onto the bench. I gave him a nod, and he grinned at an audience of two.  Something metallic jingled behind the piano and I wondered why he wasn’t playing.  His osteoporotic frame prevented him from seeing over the piano, so I stood and walked toward him.  I caught a Latino accent within his first words, so I jumped at the chance to practice my Spanish and asked, “Necessitas ayudante?”  He replied, “Yes.”

Looking down, I noticed the opened padlock, but he couldn’t pull the shackle through the brass loop.  It was much too large and needed considerable force to remove.  I tugged and tugged until it finally came loose.  A piano should never be locked.

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