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
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.