It seems to me that apples and grapes have a bumper crop every other year.
Last year our grape vines looked very healthy but only gave enough grapes for maybe a gallon of juice…not nearly enough for our family of 5.
This year is a different story though! The Writer has been harvesting grapes off and on all week, as fast as I can make the juice. She must have harvested close to 3 bushels of grapes and there’s more to come she tells me.
The way I make grape juice today is very different from how I used to make it. Years ago, I’d collect all my 1.5 L (or quart) jars, stuff them with 1-2 cups washed, whole grapes, add a bit of honey or maple syrup, fill the jars with boiling water and hot-water bath each jar for 20 minutes or so. At one point I stopped using sweetener all together but would add a touch of stevia when ready to drink some grape juice. This method works well enough if you don’t have the juice maker I’m about to describe.
By the way, you can put your grapes through a Champion juicer or something like that and freeze your juice, it makes for a potent, very thick grape stew, the benefits being that it’s still a raw product thus full of enzymes and other healthy stuff. After having experimented with that as well, my family didn’t think much of it.
So last year I invested in a Victorio Juice Maker and have been using it a lot!
The pan, or series of pans really, has 4 parts to it. The bottom pan holds the water for steaming, the second pan from the bottom is the juice collector which comes with a handy silicone hose, making it easy to fill jars.
The part of the pan that sits on top of the juice collector is the steamer basket, all the fruit that you want juiced goes in there. Lastly, there’s a lid.
You bring the water in the bottom pan to a boil, fill the steamer basket with fruit (grapes in this case) and an hour later there’ll be enough juice in the juice pan to start filling your clean jars. Put a lid and ring on each jar and you’re done.
This makes a very strong juice, a concentrate really. It tastes excellent with a bit of ginger ale or sparkling water.
All week I’ve been at this job (off and on again) and have filled 50 jars so far.
A bumper crop for sure, all this off 2 grape vines.
Yes, concord grapes for those of you who are wondering. The vines are about 10 years old, they get a heap of compost in the spring and fall. I prune the vines severely (read, I don’t really know what I’m doing) late spring, just before the blossoms come on. That’s it. Every other year, the vines put on a show like this for us.
Wish our apple, pear and cherry trees would reward us this richly.