How to make your own Grape Juice.

My husband has been looking around at juicers lately, especially steam juicers, and he wanted to make and can his own apple juice.  I thought why limit ourselves to just apple juice! Where we live in Central Virginia there is a local vineyard called Wenger Grapes and they have about 3 weeks where you can go pick your own grapes so we thought why not?  We all like grapes so let’s go pick some.  We went to pick some and I was a little surprised how the grapes tasted.  They were good but kinda slimy so we knew right then these were not going to be grapes to be eaten.  I thought I would just figure out how to make jelly and make grape jelly.  Well, did you know it takes 4 cups of grapes juice to just make a little bit of jelly?  I didn’t know either.  I also didn’t know that you don’t get that much juice out of a bushel of grapes!  IMG_6529     That day we picked about 21 pounds of grapes.  I was so sure I wouldn’t have to buy grape juice for a LONG time!  We came home and immediately set out making our juice.   We washed and destemed the grapes, put them in a bowl and using a potato masher lightly mashed the grapes to get them to release their juice.  Since we had so many grapes we did them in 4 pound batches.  Place the grapes into a stock pot and heat them to a simmer on a medium high heat.  Once they reach that point simmer for an additional 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Halfway through the cooking time mash the grapes again.  When the time is up it is now time to strain the grapes.  Here is where it got very interesting at my house.  My husband likes to make things perfectly and tried to get rid of all the pulp and nearly impossible task!  We used a sieve first, then cheesecloth, then coffee filters (that was very slow) then I remember a story my grandma told be before she past away of her mom (my great grandma) using a pillow case to strain berries.  We figured it could hurt so we would give it a try.  Even after all that straining we still have pulp in it.  We ended up with 2 pints of concord grape concentrate.  IMG_6532The boys love the grape juice especially my 3 year old.  After he tasted it his response was “mmmmm”.  We did have to play with it a little to get the taste that we liked.  The sugar in the juice comes from the pulp so the more you strain it the less sugar there is.  Before straining it through pillow case we were using the ratio 2 parts water to 1 part juice since straining through the pillow case we now use a 1:1 ratio.   I hope our little experiment has encourage or even enticed you to try to make some on your own or even to try something you never have before.

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