Today I took my daughter to a sweet little vineyard which was so absolutely beautiful! We picked a bushel basket of concord grapes in the late summer sunshine. Then we headed back home to make the sweet purple grapes into canned Grape Juice.
It was such a memorable time and she loved it!
Then we came back home and We canned up 14 quarts of sweet grape juice. Its really quite easy and the word we use to describe the deep rich taste of this juice is……. heavenly!
To Can Grape Juice
Step 1: First I sterilized quart jars, rings and lids. (the day ahead)
Step 2: We washed all the grapes in big bowls of cool water.
Step 3: Next We took our bowls of washed grapes onto the patio while we pulled all the grapes off the stems. This was the longest step but was super easy work and fun to enjoy this time together singing talking about upcoming things. Now once all the grapes are clean and stemmed then….
Step 4: We placed 2 ½ cups of grapes into each hot quart jar.
Step 5: Then sprinkled in ½ cup sugar (or choice of sweetener).
Step 6: I poured hot boiling water into each quart jar just to the shoulder of the jar, not full.
Step 7: We gave each jar a good stir (a very good stir!) with a long handled spoon to dissolve the sugar. This is important as the sugar doesn’t dissolve well if you don’t stir it well not before water bathing the jars. In the past, when in a hurry, I’ve skipped the stirring and then you get a hard rock disc of sugar on the bottom of the jar after its gone in the canner. So give each one a stir to dissolve that sugar nicely in each jar.
Step 8: Lastly, Cap and seal your jars. Process quarts in a water bath canner for 10 minutes and can and cool as you would for any canning.
Now to serve the juice, pour your jar of grape juice in a colander or small strainer over a pitcher, squishing the contents to get all the juice you can from the grapes and skins. Add ice cubes to your pitcher of strained juice and serve. I think over months of storage the juice becomes richer, but we never have any left by spring! Most recipes call for a lot more sugar when its canned up, but we found we love it less sweet; so you can taste the deep rich grape flavor.
No chemicals, no additives, no dye, You’ll be amazed how yummy the rich grape flavor is. The grapes we always pick are Concords and that’s very important to getting that rich grape flavor.
Shortly after we canned up a batch of wonderful juice, this encouraging little bible study came to my inbox and I thought I might share it with you. Its an encouraging reminder regarding grape vines and God’s Word; and her grape vine photos are lovely too!
So if you’ve never picked grapes, take your kids to a local vineyard and give it a try! You won’t be sorry. And then read them the little bible study reminder about grapevines.
Because I’m always searching for healthier options, a couple years ago, I actually did a little test on my family to see how other sweeteners would taste in our canned grape juice. I thought you might be interested in the results.
I used a ½ cup sweetener for all the test jars and the same amount of grapes: 2½ cups.
Xylitol and Therasweet – did 2 separate jars, one of each sweetener, both turned out absolutely excellent, our favorite for sure.
organic granulated cane sugar – which is how I always did it for years and it’s definitely very good, as mentioned but I was just trying to find a better option than this.
Raw sugar cane – tasted almost as good as white sugar, but I’m not sold on whether it’s a much better choice at this point and it costs quite a bit more.
Honey, maple syrup and Rapadura – I tried a jar of each one of these because I use them in alot of my other recipes and they were awful to our taste buds, not what we wanted our juice to taste like. Very strong flavor and was too overpowering and started to lose the wonderful grape flavor that we love. I thought this may be helpful to some of you trying this.