Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Home-canned Grape Juice


Photo Credit:  Melissa Binder



This has been my specialty for years, and yet is one of the easiest things there is to can!  My mother always made it with  our own grapes on the farm, and I have fond memories of the smell of concord grapes in the fall, as well as drinking grape juice on special occasions; I feel connected to that era every time I can a batch.  I used to can 50-70 quarts every other year so that I would have plenty to give as hostess gifts, etc. but in recent years I've scaled down to more reasonable amounts so that I have just enough on hand for my own use and for company (and so I don't OD on canning!).  I wanted to use local grapes to stick with my local produce goals, but the PA grapes were in and over before I realized it.  These grapes came from New York and were sweet as well as beautiful.  I used 10 pounds of grapes which yielded 21 quarts of juice (three canner loads).

Source:  Adapted from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes Cookbook



Remove grapes from stems and wash thoroughly; drain.  Place 1 c. grapes and 1/2 c. sugar in each quart jar.  Fill with boiling water, leaving 1/2" headspace.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Add lids, tighten and process 15 minutes in boiling water bath. 
When ready to serve, strain into pitcher, discarding grapes.

Note:  Depending on how sweet the grapes are and your preferences, you can use less sugar.  This year I used a heaping 1/4 c. sugar per quart.

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