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October 01, 2022
We are lucky enough to have several concord grape vines in our back yard. Harvesting the grapes and juicing them in a steam juicer is super easy. With the added step of water bath canning we can enjoy the fresh juice in the dead of winter. This is one of our favorite ways to stock our pantry.
Just follow these simple steps to can your own homemade grape juice.
We typically wait until after the first frost to pick our grapes. This is supposed to ensure that they have released their sugar and are at their sweetest. Depending on how many grapes you have, you can harvest them all at the same time to process them at once or you can do it in batches.
Even through we don’t use any pesticides, it’s a good idea to wash your grapes to make sure they are clean and ready to process into delicious juice. Grapes will occasionally have dried leaves or spider webs that get caught in the bunches, so we make sure to wash these off.
Steam juicers come in three parts. The bottom section holds the water that is heated to create the steam. Make sure it’s full of water so it doesn’t boil dry in the middle of a batch.
The middle section of the steam juicer is the part that collects the juice. It’s placed on top of the water pot and has a hose where the juice will come out when it’s ready. You’ll notice there is a domed hole in the center where the steam will rise.
Before you start processing the first batch, you’ll want to make sure that the hose is clamped so the juice doesn’t leak out before you’re ready. I like to hang the clamp on the handle to the pot so it doesn’t hang down and accidentially leak.
The third section of the steam juicer is the colander that holds the grapes. This will sit on top of the juice collector in the middle section. Fill the colander full of grapes. I find if it’s all the way full, I can get pretty close to 4 quarts of grape juice in a batch.
It’s important to put the lid on top so the steam doesn’t escape and all of the heat is retained. It’s the steam and heat that cause the grapes to release their juice.
Now you’re all set up to get juicing. Turn the heat on to get the water boiling, then wait for the grapes to pop! You’ll notice they change color as they heat.
If you are juicing concords you’ll be able to see the juice to start to enter the tube. White grapes unfortunately are too light and you might have to peek in the middle section to see if there is enough juice.
Once the juice is ready you can place the tip of the hose in a mason jar and release the clamp. I like to wear rubber gloves because the juice is very hot. This allows more dexterity than an oven mitt, but still protects my fingers.
You’ll love this step. There is nothing like seeing that beautifully natural juice fill the jar!
You’ll want to leave at least 1/4 inch of head space in the mason jar if you plan on processing them in a canner.
Before processing your jars, wipe the rims, place the lids and secure with bands until finger tight. They only take 5 minutes in a canner at a full boil, but you’ll need to adjust that for your altitude.
That’s It! Now you’ll be able to enjoy grape juice all year long.
Don’t forget the easiest way to pour grape juice from a mason jar is with the Ergo Spout®! Whether you are using regular mouth or wide mouth jars, we have you covered.
December 13, 2022
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