Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to make your own grape juice concentrate

Recently a friend of ours from church invited us out to his "property". I say "property"...but really I mean "farm.  My boys always love going there. Every time we go it's magical because we never know WHAT could be growing there!  This time on the Wheeler homestead we picked Concord grapes.  The last time we were there we picked as many blueberries as we could handle.  While we were picking silently it started to drizzle on us but we continued to pick.  It will be a very beautiful memory for me--and now we'll have some of those Concord grapes preserved to enjoy come Winter.  Here's how:
Super Easy Grape Juice Concentrate
1-2 cups of fresh Concord grapes. Ours had seeds. It doesn't really matter.
1/2- 1 cup of sugar
boiling water
Quart Mason jars

Get your very large canning pot boiling, a smaller pot full of water and a small pot of water boiling for the canning lids while you sort through the grapes.  Sort through the grapes and wash them off gently. I do not have a dishwasher so I sterilize my jars by washing in warm, sudsy water and keeping them in a 225 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Now it's time to assemble. Take one quart jar and add in 2 cups of grapes. You can use one cup. I just wanted more "bang for my buck" so I added 2 cups. Then add the sugar. You don't have to mix it--you don't even REALLY need to use sugar, I've heard. Next fill the jar up with boiling water. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.  Place the canning lids on and tighten. Process for 25 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Leave the concentrate in your pantry for at least a month. When you're ready to drink it, simply strain it and add another quart of water to the "juice".  Discard the pulp.  Lovely!  **Please refer to the Ball Blue Book if this is your first foray into canning as I'm no authority--I just follow directions :).

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