When it comes to juice fresh is always best. Learn how to make your own homemade grape juice starting with picking grapes and ending with sweet juice.
Confession. I love grape juice. Love it.
I don’t drink it very often these days because I know most juice is just empty calories with no nutrition. Otherwise I would.
A few weeks ago my mom called to tell me my grandpa said I could have his grapes. My grandma passed away earlier this year and my grandpa is now in hospice. So the grapes on their farm are just sitting there.
He thought I might be able to put them to good use.
He knows me well.
I made a trip to the farm with my two youngest, hoping to pick a bunch of grapes. Then I realized that picking grapes when everything is soaking wet and you have a toddler with grabby hands strapped to your chest is next to impossible.
At least I had a great helper! We did pick a few to get us started. But I had to send my husband and big kids back a few days later to finish the job.
My suggestions for picking grapes:
- Have two free hands.
- Use clippers.
- Be prepared to get messy.
Once we had the grapes at home I had to figure out what to do with them.
It turns out that making homemade grape juice is quite simple. You basically just wash, cook and strain. You may need to add sweetener if you want to drink the juice plain. It just depends how tart the grapes are.
It also turns out that the “hardest” part is just separating the good grapes from the bad ones.
It was fun to make my own grape juice for the first time. As I did it I couldn’t help but smile and think of my grandparents standing in the kitchen on their farm making juice together every year for decades.
I felt honored to carry on the tradition, and I think of them every time I drink our homemade grape juice. They are some of the most amazing people I know. And their farm has always been one of my favorite places.
Have you ever tried making homemade grape juice? If you have access to fresh, concord grapes start picking! There is nothing quite like it.
- Freshly picked concord grapes
- Organic cane sugar or honey
- Large stockpot
- Large fine mesh strainer
- Wash the grapes. Get rid of any bad or unripe grapes.
- Place the grapes in a large stockpot.
- Mash the grapes with a potato masher to get the juices flowing.
- Turn the heat on to high. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer the grapes for 10 - 15 minutes, mashing periodically while they cook.
- Turn off the heat.
- Strain the grapes/juice through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl.
- Allow the grapes to strain for a few hours or over night.
- Discard the grapes/skin/seeds.
- Strain the juice a second time through clean cheesecloth.
- If using the juice for drinking add sugar if the grapes are too sour. Stir and let the sugar dissolve.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.
- I used about 1/4 cup cane sugar per quart of juice for drinking.
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This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.