Grapes- Green City Market

Received a garbage bag full of grapes that were rescued from the compost at Green City Market from a friend. They smelled sweet and fermented, way past edibility.

I took half of the bag for my first attempt at potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar) extraction.

20131015_143659Twin pots boiling simultaneously.

After some heavy boiling, I will strain the juice and let that boil down and thicken. Then I will quickly transfer the liquids to a freezer and hope to find crystals gather on the surface.


Recipe 1 – Map

I will be basing my first Turkey Red attempts with this first recipe from Wikipedia.

1786 recipe from Manchester dyer



  • White argol – Potassium bitartrate, aka. Cream of Tartar:
    Mineral crystals that are found naturally in grapes. Grapes can be found in growing wild along the Chicago River. Fall is also grape season, and you would not believe the amount of surplus at the end of the Farmer’s Markets.
  • Olive oil – Vegetable oil: Refuse vegetable oil can be collected from restaurants after use.
  • Lye of Barilla/ wood ash – Wood ash: Wood ash can be produced through the burning of scrap wood and mulch from the Bureau of Forestry maintenance. Free pick-up sites are located throughout the city.
  • Sheep’s dung – Horse manure:
    Horse manure from local stables can be a rich soil amendment and is commonly used for compost for urban agriculture. Ask local farms or visit horse stables in and around Chicago for manure, including the city’s police horse stables.

  • Gall nut – Wasp gall on Oak: Galls are formed around the eggs of wasps on Oak trees. They are high in tannic acids and have been long used for inks and dyes. Oak trees grow throughout the city’s public parks.