Today I took my daughter to a hidden little vineyard which was so absolutely beautiful! We picked a bushel basket of lovely grapes in the late summer sunshine. Then we headed back home to make the rich purple grapes into canned Grape Juice.
It was such a memorable time and she loved it!
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 my daughter and I sterilized quart jars, rings and lids.
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 and listened to a tape while we pulled all the grapes off the stems. This was the longest step but was super easy work and fun to enjoy this profitable time together singing and listening to tapes and visiting about upcoming things. Now all the grapes are clean and stemmed.
Step 4: We placed 2 ½ cups of grapes in each hot quart jar.
Step 5: Then sprinkled in ½ cup sugar (or choice of sweetener).
Step 6: I poured hot boiling water to fill the quart jar and cover the grapes (approximately 2 cups or so per jar).
Step 7: We gave each jar a 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. In the past, when in a hurry, I’ve skipped the stirring and gotten a hard lump of sugar on the bottom of the jar after its been water bathed.
Step 8: Cap and seal your jars and process quarts in water bath for 10 minutes.
It’s that easy!
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 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.
White granulated sugar – which is how I always did it for years and it’s definitely very good, as mentioned 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.