Making Grape Juice

One of the most interesting pieces of advice I've gleaned from the internet is to never turn down something free.  If you want to be on the receiving end of free stuff you need to accept it when it comes along.  Apparently that makes you more likely to be offered goodies in the future since the giver already knows you're interested.

While I do a lot of giving away for free, I haven't had much opportunity to be on the say yes end until recently.  When we were in Ohio a couple weeks ago, we volunteered to pick grapes from my grandmother's bountiful supply of concord grapes so that she could make jam.  Since we were already out there she let us pick a box for us and my mom too.  My first thought was what are we going to do with all of these grapes.  I knew eating them as is was out of the question because after a year of eating seeded grapes in Saudi it is just a pain.  I didn't think jam or jelly was really a feasibly option because we don't have any of the basic start up gear.  Then my mom suggested just making grape juice and that seemed totally doable.

I spent time taking off all the stems and picking out all of the bad grapes and then we were ready to go.  I didn't weigh the grapes before cooking them, but based on the amount of juice we got we probably had about 4 1/2 pounds of grapes.

I followed the recipe for grape juice from Simply Recipes which was quick, easy, and spot on.  The only thing I didn't have was a colander so I borrowed my mom's old cone colander.  Using this worked really well because the wooden pestle was great for squeezing out the juice and it was much quicker than if we had let it sit and drip via gravity.

In the end we had about 3 1/2 of these jars of undiluted juice.

This doesn't seem like much juice for the effort, but it was really potent and we ended up diluting it with water by about half giving us about 72 ounces of fresh grape juice.

It only took us a couple of days to drink it all but it starts to ferment if it's sealed air tight for several days anyway, so using it quickly is recommended.

Out of the whole process, the only thing I would have done differently is to use old towels to protect the counters.  Grape stains almost everything metal and glass excluded and I ended up having to use baking soda and vinegar per advice found on Associated Content to get out the stains on the counter tops.  Grape season is almost over, but if we get more grapes in the next week or so we might get one more batch of juice this year.

Having grown up with this small grape arbor it astounds me that it has taken this long to pick grapes and you can bet we'll be back next year for more.