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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Canning Grape Juice

It's been a busy few months as we've harvested our garden. The tomatoes, potatoes and squash were a bust, perhaps because of a cool spring and early summer. But, we had an abundant crop of raspberries, peaches, and apples. We've canned peaches, made several different batches of fruit leather (which is already gone), and just recently I canned grape juice.

Grape Juice

1. Pick grapes.
2. Prepare quart bottles. I washed mine in the dishwasher on a sani-rinse.
3. Fill basin of steamer approximately 3/4 full of water.
4. Rinse grapes, picking out leaves or debris. Leave grapes on the stems.

5. Place grapes into steamer. Pack, but don't press.
6. Bring water in basin to a boil. Turn down to medium heat.
7. After about 50 minutes, you will be able to fill one or two still-hot quart bottles.
8. Place flats on full bottles and finger-tighten the rings.
9. Check water in basin. Refill if necessary.

10. After an additional 20 to 40 minutes, you should be able to fill approximately three or four more bottles. Place flats and rings.
11. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes (adjust for elevation). The USDA also adds sugar (which is optional) and an additional step of refrigerating, straining and reheating the grape juice before processing in order to reduce tartaric acid. The tartaric acid crystals don't bother me, so I skip this step. I add my own sugar when using the juice.
Here is a link to official recipes and water bath times: UGA - Grape Juice.

A. If you aren't going to strain the juice, don't stir or push the grapes or you will get a lot of debris in your bottles.
B. After filling my quarts, I did stir the grapes in the pot and then let it cook a little longer. I saved that juice to strain and serve that day. Approximately two total quarts were taken after the grapes were stirred.
C. I had an apple box and a full shopping bag full of concord grapes. It yielded about 20 total quarts.
D. We reconstitute our juice with a little more than a full additional bottle of water and 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar. Each crop of grapes is different. Adjust to your own taste.

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