Canning Homemade Grape Juice
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Preserving,  Uncategorized

Canning Homemade Grape Juice

This past week we drove to a local vineyard with the hopes of picking Concord grapes! We had dreams of canning homemade grape juice, and in turn, canning grape jelly.

The orchard had a deal if you picked 100 lbs of grapes the price dropped significantly. We walked out of there with (5) 5-gallon buckets of Concord grapes for just $27!

Bring your snips, a wagon, and 5 gallon buckets. We had them all full in less than an hour.

Steaming Homemade Grape Juice

We own a Victorio Juice Steamer which makes it super simple to turn all of those grapes into concentrated juice.

It’s so simple to use. The steamer comes apart into three pieces. The bottom piece gets filled with water, the second piece collects the juice, and the top gets filled with the desired fruit to steam.

We tried this two ways. The first batch we destemmed the grapes and the second batch at my husband’s request we left the stems on.

There honestly wasn’t a difference other than we fit fewer grapes in the steamer resulting in a bit less juice at the end of the session.

So wash the grapes well, and fill the steamer either way you prefer. Place the lid on and bring the water to a slow boil.

To prevent the hose from leaking we keep the hose resting in a mason jar. If you forget this step you may end up with a puddle of grape juice on the floor. Ask me how I know. Oops!

Now while your juice is steaming you’ll want to start preparing the jars. When the jars are filled you’ll process the jars, but only for five minutes. This means your jars will need to be sanitized ahead of time in your water bather.

While the juice is steaming this is also the perfect time for a momma cow to need assistance birthing a calf. Beef cows rarely need help, but when they do you always have a million other things going on. Heres the sweet boy warming up in the son.

calf born while canning grape juice.
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Now back to sanitizing jars! You can do this by processing your empty jars in your water bather in boiling water for ten minutes. Be sure to do this ahead of time or you’ll be kicking yourself when the juice is ready to empty.

Always remember, anything needing to be processed under ten minutes calls for sanitizing jars.

We figured out that you’ll want to empty the juice once an hour. If you let it go too long the center pan will overflow and you’ll have juice in your boiling water.

When it’s time to empty the juicer, find a stool or something lower than your stove to fill your jars on. Gravity is your friend here.

Canning Homemade Grape Juice

It took us two hours to fully steam each batch of grapes and this filled about 3 jars an hour. As I filled them I’d place the filled jars in the hot water bather and when all six or seven jars were in there we’d bring it back to a boil and process the jars for five minutes.

Make sure you’re sealing the jars with brand new lids. The rings can always be reused!

After the five minutes, remove from the water bather and listen for your jars to start popping. Music to my ears!

With 100 lbs of grapes, or (5) 5- gallon buckets full, we ended up with 50 plus quarts of grape juice. I don’t have an exact number because my boys were pretty generous taste testers.

I plan on turning ten of those quarts into grape jelly and the rest will be for drinking.

I will warn you this was an entire weekend process! The stove was running pretty much non stop. We decided to invest in a second steamer before trying this again next year to reduce the time spent in the kitchen.

I’m also toying around with ideas of doing this outside with a propane stove next year. We do not have air conditioning and it was a warm weekend. The kitchen became pretty unbearable at times.

Mixing Up Homemade Grape Juice

After a lot of taste testing, we’ve come up with a formula for mixing up the grape juice.

Don’t get me wrong it’s good all on its own but it’s pretty concentrated and the kids prefer it sweetened.

To mix we add one full quart of grape juice with 3/4ths quart of cold water. Add in 1/2 cup of sugar and stir it up. With four boys in the house, it sure doesn’t last long!

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