Grape juice is just the best, but homemade grape juice is better. Every fall, I wait until the first frost kisses the grapes, then pick up my clippers and head for the grape vines. I don’t personally have vines, but I have friends who share their grape harvest with me. I look forward to making grape juice. By the way… the grapes are sweeter after the first frost.
If you have a steam juicer, making homemade grape juice is a snap. This is grape juice recipe uses a steam juicer as part of the canning equipment you will use.
You may purchase your grapes or cut them fresh from grape vines. The yield will vary according to the size of the grapes. Some years I’ve had a 25 quart return per bushel…other years not as great a return.
Some years the individual grapes are huge and other years they may be a bit puny… it depends upon weather and water variables. None the less, don’t let the small grape clusters discourage you… your yield per bushel may be just a bit smaller.
1. I get out the steam juicer and make sure it’s in good repair and put all the parts together according to the manufactures directions.
2. Sterilize the bottles. You can put them in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes. I just run my through the dishwasher on a complete cycle…. which includes the drying time.
3. I wash the grape clusters and remove the grapes from the stems. Now, some folks don’t remove the grapes from the stems and put the entire cluster into the steamer basket. I find that the juice takes on a slightly bitter taste so I prefer to remove the individual grapes.
4. Fill the top container with grapes. Don’t mash the grapes down. The steam needs to flow freely.
5. Fill the bottom of the juicer with water. Line up the three parts of the juicer as the juicer instructions will show you.
6. Turn the heat on high until you see the steam escaping from the top of the juicer. Turn the heat to medium but make sure the steam continues steadily. Important: Don’t let the bottom container run dry!
7. The grapes should steam for 60 minutes.
8. Turn the juice burner to low heat. Insert the juicer tube in a sterilized bottle and squeeze the clamp to release the juice. Note: When bottling, pour the first quart of hot juice back into the fruit basket. This will sterilize the juicer tube.
The juice will be extremely hot so use mitts. I place a stool next to my stove so the bottle is at the proper level for filling. I never hold the jar! Squeeze the clamp to release the juice. Fill the bottle to 1/2 inch of the jar top. Place on the lid and screw on the ring.
Because the juice is so hot coming out of the canner, you can apply a hot lid and ring and it will seal. However, I prefer a precautionary measure and put them in a steam canner or water bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Before you start another batch, refill the bottom container of the juicer with water.
Note: I don’t sweeten my grape juice during the canning process. I sweeten it to taste when I open a jar.
Using your grape juice: Pour the grape concentrate into a 2 quart pitcher. Add 1/2 C. sugar or to taste. Stir well. Add one quart of cold water.
If I’m going to spice it up with Sprite, I add only half quart of water and the other half with the soda. If your going to add soda… you can cut down on the sugar.
There you go… your grape juice recipe for homemade grape juice.
Happy Canning and Preserving
Kathy – Insightful Nana