Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canning Concord Grape Juice Concentrate


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Grape season has been amazing here this year. The grapes has looked and tasted great. I have never had such intense and good tasting grapes as I have had this year. To preserve this unexpected treasure we have decided to can grape juice concentrate. Our concentrate is very intense tasting and can be diluted by 50-75% depending upon how strong you like your juice to taste.  
This is our first year canning grapes, and we have found grapes to be one of the easiest and least time consuming fruits to can. We borrowed a friend’s food mill to juice the grapes, and I think we will be investing in a food mill next year. The food mill easily removed the seeds and skins of the grapes.
We chose to heat our grapes first to get an intense purple grape juice, but you could speed up the process even more and just juice the grapes without heating the whole grape first. This will produce a white grape juice. Either way your grape juice will taste amazing.
Ingredients modified from Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning (one bushel (40 lbs) of grapes makes about 16 quarts of juice)
Grapes, washed and removed from the stems
Water
Directions
1.       Place the grapes in a large stockpot with a little water on the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking. Slowly heat the grapes on medium heat until the grape juice flowing from the grapes is purple and the flesh of the grapes is an intense pink color. Do not let the grape juice boil. Stir frequently.
2.       Place the grapes and juice in a food mill and rotate until the skins and seeds are separated from the rest the juice. Or if you do not have a food mill you can smash the grapes with a potato masher and strain the seeds and peels. Another option is to place the grapes in a plastic bag (only half fill the bag) and take a rolling pin and roll the pin over the closed plastic bag to smash out the juice. Again strain the peels and seeds. Do not place your grapes in a blender or food processor to get the juice out. Blending your grapes will simply puree the grapes and will not get the juice out.
3.       In a clean stockpot, heat the grapes juice to 190 degrees F but not boiling. Ladle the hot grape juice into hot sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place the lids on the jars and adjust the two piece rings.
4.       Process the grape juice in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

Posted on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Tutorial Tuesday,

15 comments:

  1. I'm goign to have to try this. Our grapes this year are out of control! They've never even produced before but now we have bushels of them!

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  2. Informative blog! I like your blog information and i wish many people like grape juice..

    Thanks for sharing post.

    concord heating

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  3. Could you use a juicer instead of the food mill?

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    Replies
    1. You could use a juicer instead of a food mill. I just invested in a juicer a few weeks ago. I can not wait to try grape juice on my new juicer when grape season comes around again.

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    2. I used my Greenstar juicer last year to can my juice. After canning/processing the juice it separates in the jars to a purple top and a brown bottom. Which I assume are the seeds. Taste is good though.

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  4. mmm sounds great, I dont have any canning equipment or jars, so can I put them into recycled bottles and just boil it for 15 mins as the last step ??

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    Replies
    1. The problem with recycled bottles is that the seal has already been used and a new seal is not guaranteed to form correctly thereby potentially allowing bacteria to form inside the jars. I recommend only using new lids (recycled canning jars are fine if they have been sterilized through a dishwasher.) As for canning equipment, the basic items you need is a large pot with a rack on the bottom. I use a large stock pot that came with a rack. I picked up the pot several years ago for $12 at a local store. I have seen some people use a large soup pot with a bamboo placemat cut to size on the bottom for the rack. The rack serves to make sure that the jar are heated evenly when being boiled. The other equipment you need is a ruler or another device to measure the headspace (canning starter kits usually include a plastic tool with wedges to denote the headspace.) The proper headspace will ensure that the jars do not break during processing. Other tools that are nice to have but necessary are funnel, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter. These tools can be purchased on-line or at places that sell canning jars for under $20 for a kit. As for canning basics, I would recommend the book, Blue Book Guide to Preserving which can be purchased for around $5. The book contains step by step diagrams on how to can properly so you do not get sick.

      Your other option is to freeze the grape juice.

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    2. Last year I had access to some wonderful Concords and wanted to try making juice. I heated them and pressed them then put the juice into quart jars...instead of water bathing them I put the jars into the microwave for about 4-5 minutes and put the warm lids on as soon as they came out. It worked perfectly for me.

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  5. This sounds so easy. Thank you for the encouragement, and instruction. I am going to be on the lookout for grapes this year.

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  6. Can you do this with Muscadines and Scuppernongs?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, this will work for other grape varieties as well. Enjoy!

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  7. I invested in a steam juicer. That is the way to go! I don't even have to remove the grapes from the stems. Get your jars and lids hot and ready, fill the jars with the hot juice right from the juicer, lids on and you are done. Since the juice is hot out of the juicer you don't need to do the water bath. I canner 60 qts last year with no issues.

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  8. What size jars do you recommend? I have lots of quart size, large mouth jars.
    Also because our crop was so large, it was overwhelming! I cleaned stems off, washed, bagged and froze about 18 gallons. Could I still use these for juice? I'm afraid I may only be able to use them for jam/jelly now that I've frozen them.

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    Replies
    1. I use quart size jars. Either regular or wide depending upon what I have empty at the time of canning. I have never tried to juice frozen grapes, but I would certainly give it a try. If you thaw the grapes, then cell walls of the grape cells will bust releasing lots of juice in the process. I would try and press the thawed grapes to get the juice out. If you give it a try, please let me know how it goes.

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  9. Just an idea that I used when making grape wine this year to get my juice...I did use a blender BUT I poured everything into a strainer bag so that all solid material was contained and I could squeeze just the juice through. Made it pretty quick.

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