Monday, August 30, 2010

Canning Grape Juice and Jelly.

So once again we have been blessed with free food from our extremely generous neighbors. They called a few days ago asking if we had any interest in grapes. Their grape vines were overflowing and they had already shared with friends and family and still had buckets of grapes to give away. Like the other fruits we have received from them, these have never been sprayed or treated and are totally organic.

Our neighbors had explained the way they can their grape juice, but i couldn't remember the exact recipe. So i started looking online for instructions and was thrilled to find the same recipe on The Backwoods Home site. This really is an extremely easy way to make grape juice for canning. Keep in mind, it makes a grape juice concentrate, with sugar added so it's not 100% juice. The recipe calls for 1 cup grapes, 1 cup sugar and enough boiling water to fill your quart jar.

First, make sure you wash and sterilize your quart jars in a water bath canner for 10 min. Then add 1 cup grapes( washed and stems removed), and 1 cup sugar. Fill the jars with boiling water, leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe jar tops with a clean damp cloth, apply clean lids and rings, and screw on fairly tightly.

The original instructions say not to bother mixing, as they will mix while processing. i found from my first batch that they didn't really mix, and there was a layer of undissolved sugar on the bottom of the jars. So with the rest of my batches, i screwed the lids on and then mix them up by turning the jars upside down a few times to make sure all the sugar dissolves before processing.

Process for 25 minutes, a bit more if your in a high elevation. That's it! Super quick and easy.

Here is an example of the finished product ( on the right) that's grape jelly on the left. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the concentrate becomes. You dilute it with water to serve, 1/2 to 1 jar water depending on taste. This same method can be done to make cherry juice, though i am not sure about other fruits.

i also made a batch of grape jelly, although i don't have a tutorial for it. i just used the directions that came with the fruit pectin. i didn't even squeeze the grapes by hand...i used my juicer. So it was very, very simple, boil the juice and add a crap load of sugar and pectin, boil again and fill jars. Easy peasy. :) i plan to make another batch today, after i start in on these pears.

It is going to be another busy week here as i work on canning and freezing apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes and grapes. i feel like a little squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. It's a pretty good feeling though, looking around at my packed deep freezer, and shelves of home canned goods and knowing where it all came from.

Once the cold weather moves in and the garden begins to die back i promise to get back to crafting. i have so many ideas floating around in my head, just need the time to do them. My focus for the Autumn is dolls, mainly waldorf style, felt and crocheted play foods and new bead work.
Anything else you'd like to see again?


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