Friday, August 29, 2008

Concord Grapes, Part 2

Well, the lull is officially over. Neighbor D called this afternoon announcing it was time to come pick again. Jamey and Sam went this time and came home with a heaping basin full. Jamey said Sam was such a trooper, using his own scissors to snip clusters of grapes into his own basket and then dumping them into his Daddy's bigger container. Then, once he was home and in his pajamas, he helped me pull them off the stems and put them in jars. He helped for at least an hour. Until he got distracted by eating them. And scratching his itchy arms. Grapes seem to affect Sam and I in this way- itchy hands and arms.

I'm not sure why this happens. It seems to be worse when separating the pulp from the skin and not as bad or non existent when you are just taking the grapes off the stems. It goes away after a couple hours and seems to affect some people more than others.

Sam was put to bed and Jamey helped me finish canning 25 quarts of grape juice concentrate. I don't miss the lull at all. Yet.

Grape Juice Concentrate

In a clean, quart jar add 2 cups cleaned, stemmed whole grapes. Pour 1 cup sugar over the grapes. Fill jar, leaving one inch of head space, with boiling water. Cap with a hot lid and jar ring.

The recipe in the Simply in Season cookbook says you do not need to process/hot water bath them, but I have found that they do not all seal unless I do.

I put them in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Don't be dismayed if it looks like the sugar has all settled on the bottom. It will eventually dissolve.

Wait a month or so before opening- the longer you wait, the stronger the flavor. Since this in a concentrate recipe, you will want to add some water after you have strained out your grapes at drinking time.
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  1. I'd love a recipe for the grape juice concentrate you can. Would you share it?
    - H

  2. H,

    I'd be happy to share. I posted the recipe above. Also, there is now a link under Our Favorite Recipes in the left hand column.

    Happy juicing!

  3. The slick way to can grape juice without processing in the canner is with the oven. I did it for the first this year on Sept. 1st and only one jar unsealed. You put your grapes in the jars and set them in a 200 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. (My oven held 12 2-qt. jars). Meanwhile heat a LARGE kettle of water to boiling. Remove a hot jar from the oven, add the sugar, pour your boiling water over, screw on lid with ring. Set aside until cool. There is no need to wash these jars before storing as they aren't covered with cooked-out juice. Technically you aren't supposed to boil grape juice which is impossible to not do with the canner method. This is so easy! Enjoy!


    Note: This is not a concentrate but is ready to drink straight out of the jar.

  4. A,

    Fascinating. I may have to try that next year. Thanks!


  5. I've done the same thing with muskadines the southern grape and it works great. I also understand you can do this with any kind of berry but haven't tried it yet.


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