Thursday, June 26

How To Make Grape Juice

Ripe grapes in Michigan
Homemade Grape Juice
A few years ago my daughter's mother-in-law Julie gave us 2 cases of grapes.  I decided to come up with something to do with all those grapes besides just eating them and making grape jelly, so I made grape juice.

Recently I have been getting grapes from our neighbor’s vines for free but I noticed this spring they removed all their vines and the trellis they were hanging on.  My heart sank. 

To have our own supply I have planted 5 grape vines in the last 3 years. Three are doing very well; two are struggling, but hopefully we will have our own grape harvest.
Grapes will soon be in season so look around your area.  One of your neighbors may have grape vines and would be more than willing to let you have the grapes for free.
Free is always best and if their growing naturally without chemicals, an added bonus!

To harvest grapes from the vine, use a pair of scissors or small clippers to clip the grape bunches from the vine.
Ripe grapes in the Smoky Mountains

Concord grapes make the best grape juice.  Pick the grapes when they are a deep purple. If you have other varieties, mix them with the concord.  Some grapes are much sweeter than others so add sugar to reach the desired sweetness.

What You Need:

7 to 8 pounds of concord grapes
½ to 1 cup sugar (optional)

How To Make The Juice:
Prepare a water bath canner by filling with water and bringing to a simmer.   Clean and sterilize canning jars and lids.  I sterilize the jars by putting them in the water bath canner and removing one at a time as needed.  Place lids in a pan of hot water but do not boil.

Wash the grapes and remove stems

Wash grapes and remove from the stems.  Measure approximately 17 cups of grapes.  In a large 6 quart pot combine grapes and 2 ½ cups of water.

Gently mash the grapes

Mash the grapes gently with a potato masher to help release more juice and flavor. Cover and bring just to a simmer.  Simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Simmer until grapes are soft.

Simmer grapes 10 to 15 minutes and until soft

Remove pot from the heat.  Strain grapes through a canning jelly bag or colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth.  Press on grapes gently to extract the juice.  Strain juice again if desired to produce a clearer juice.

Strain the grape juice removing all bits and pieces of grapes and seeds

I strain mine in a colander first to remove most of the larger pieces of grapes, and I then use the cheesecloth method to remove the last remaining smaller pieces.
Discard the grapes and seeds in the compost bin or feed them to your livestock, waste not want not.

This step is optional:  Transfer juice into a large clean container.  Refrigerate sealed or covered container for 24 hours, then without stirring, pour off and reserve the clear juice.  Discard the sediment that collected at the bottom of the container.  If desired, pour juice through a sieve lined with a coffee filter to remove any last remaining sediment.

Oh, one little thing I forgot.  You may want to wear gloves if purple nails and fingers are not for you, ugh!

Taste juice to determine if sugar is needed.  In a large pot combine grape juice and desired amount of sugar.  Heat just to simmering, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Skim any foam that collects on the surface of the juice. 
Ladle hot juice into clean, sterilized, hot quart canning jars.  Leave a ¼ inch head space.
Wipe jar rims and add the lids and rings.  Tighten to fingertip tight.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes.  Start timing when water starts to boil.  Remove jars from canner and cool on wire racks.  Label and store in a cool dark area or pantry.  Chill before serving.

You can mix grape juice with apple or cranberry juice for a nice blend.

Harvesting has begun!  Yesterday I made quarts of homemade sauerkraut and we had steamed cabbage for dinner using my fresh garden cabbage.  Tonight we're having stuffed cabbage rolls.  


Other Posts:

Sauerkraut In Mason Jars

Coconut Macaroons

Irish Colcannon


Anonymous said...

My brother recommended this site. This post truly made my day. You can't imagine how much time I have spent looking for easy directions and information on making juice! Thanks!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Glad this post helped!

Anonymous said...

This blog's design is spectacular! And you know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your writing, wit and your photos, I was almost moved too start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed directions on grape juice, and more then that, how you presented it with easy directions and lots of photos. Too cool!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks! I love taking photos and every once in a while I get lucky and they turn out well. My wit is sometimes a little dry or subtle so glad you picked up on it, : }