Making Homemade Grape Juice

Do you grow your own grapes?  Do you hunt for wild grapes? What do you do with your grapes, fresh eating for some? Use the Grape Leaves in cooking? Do you make your own juice, jelly or do you make homemade wine?

We started our mini-vineyard the year after we moved in, and we have had small crops before but this year was the first year we were to get our first big crop and the vines have outdone themselves! We have bowl after bowl of heaping piles of fresh grapes, about half the grapes of ripened at this point, with the rest coming right along, the fresh local grapes are in the store at 4.99 for their baskets, we have picked an amount to date that would cost us about 90 dollars if we were buying them, and as those are regular grapes with no control over what was used on them, vs ours where the only thing that controlled bugs was the huge spiders that made the plants their homes, and boy do the spiders love those grape vines..

Step one for making homemade grape Juice.. Pick the grapes..

 

Step Two, sit down and carefully pick the grapes off the vine, cleaning as you go, then wash them with cool water and allow them to sit draining for ten min, then put them into your steel cooking pot, either wash your hands well and crush them out, or use a big sturdy potato masher, some of the books say to add water to cover, I don’t, I want my juice to be super strong, I will add the water when I make it into drinking juice later, I want to use as few canning jars as reasonable.

I find with some crushing of the grapes, I get juice to come about half way up on the grapes, simmer at a med-heat till cooked though-about 30 min, then you have two choices, you can either a) carefully pour (remember its hot and will splash) the hot grape mush into a big linen jelly bag and hang over a bowl to drain in for at least two hours up to overnight, what you are left with will look this (if you are using dark blue grapes) The Choice number 2, is to use your hand powered machine with the grape screen, this post show’s it at work using the tomato sauce or apple sauce screen.

Step 3, jar up and put in the fridge for a day to allow the juice to settle, carefully pour out the top juice, leaving as much of the particles on the bottom to stay there, measure your juice and put into your big steel pot, bring up to a slow simmer (don’t boil the juice) you can add sugar to your taste if you want, personally I am quite surprised at how acid tasting my homemade grape juice is, the taste is amazing, and I tend to put 2 cups of juice for every cup of sugar for my canning juice.

Step 4, Prepare your hot pint jars, and fill with your hot grape juice, and hot water bath for 20 min, cool and store in your dark cool cellar, I personally find it quite strong and we use it 3 parts water to 1 part of our homemade juice for drinking.

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14 Responses to Making Homemade Grape Juice

  1. Lisa says:

    I have been ejoying reading your site. What kind of grapes are they and how many plants do you have. We have been thinking of planting grapes. Have you ever made juice with a steam juicer? http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=67388&cat=2,40733,47775&ap=1

    • Hi Lisa

      Glad you have been enjoying the blog, If I could find the farm book (which I can’t at the moment, wonder where its gone to this time) I would be able to get you formal names, but what I can tell you is that they are all blue grapes to date, they are all listed as good for eating, Juice or Wine, none of them have been just for fresh eating, or just for wine making.. I am thinking of putting in two vines of a white grape for fresh eating and drying this coming year.. All of them were got at either the local canadian tire garden center, or the home hardware garden center, they cost under ten dollars, and I know that I got three kinds, two of them are doing very well, one is not, its still small and not producing, I am not sure if I will just give up on it and pull it out and replant that area or not..

      We currently have eight vines in total, they are now on four stands of wire, and are five feet high, and those eight vines spread out and down a forty foot row of posts and wires. We are planning on a second row of the same length an height.

      Have not used a steam juicer, have looked at them, but never got one and used it, anyone who read here done so, and if so, what is your thoughts on it?

      • Ruth Walker says:

        Hi, I love my steam juicer. I can just clean the grapes and put them in the steam juicer . It has water in the bottom and the steam from that water circulates through the grapes. Then I sit a clean jar under the hose that comes out and I fill the jar with the hot juice. Put a hot lid on and screw down the band. Done! I have used the steam juicer for berry, apple juice, and plum juice as well. Some fruits are harder to make with it and take more time to cook. I have had my steam juicer for at least 30 years now.

      • CallieK says:

        They are likely purple Concord or possibly Coronation grapes.

        I did white grapes this year and was surprised to find that the juice turned slightly pink when I canned it! I still have one small batch of purple to do but I think I’m going to ferment the juice and make more red wine vinegar – I loved the batch I made last year!

  2. Lisa says:

    I picked up a cheaper model at Value Village that I have been experimenting with this summer. The one I linked to is alot nicer, it has a heavy bottom pot that should be great for making jam. I used to read a forum that had a thread about them. The talked about uses that I would never have thought of like cooking chickens. You end up with a really nice broth to can your chicken in and you can make more broth from the bones.
    They also said you can do tomatoes it and it saves alot of time because you do not have to simmer as long to get thicker sauce. And they called the juice you get more of a tomatoe water that is great for soups or cooking rice. I am planning to try this soon.
    Another thing mentioned was apple juice and sauce at the same time. I think they said to add a little of juice back into the sauce.
    There is several user manuals that are available on line for the different brands that you can look at for uses and recipes.
    When I picked it up I thought it was only for fruit but I am discovering that it has may uses. I am also thinking that if you had alot of fruit to make juice with a second one would be handy if they weren’t so expensive.

    • Interesting, I will have to do a bit more research into them, when you have used it a few times and with different kinds of fruits and sounds like veggies, write back and let me know if you like it, I have only seen it twice at farm sales (second hand( but both times, parts were rusted out, and so I didn’t bid on them.

  3. Linda says:

    I looked on your book list; and didn’t see anything about a farm book. Can you please tell us the title of it? I for one would love to check it out. Thanks again for everything! I have concentrated grape juice in the fridge that I will can tomorrow; thanks to your blog and inspiration!!

    • Hi Linda

      The “farm book” is a homemade book, its where we draw out pictures of yards and plantings etc, I will do a post on it, I have last years book handy and will show some of the things we record, we do our lamb births and weights, how many eggs per day, butcher out weights on the birds, when what tree bloomed, how many pds of potato’s where dug, or what kind of homemade compost is used where on the garden etc. How much rain or snow we got etc

      Its really a yearly farm journal, and its a poor well beaten journel that gets hauled around the place, it always turns up but sometimes it gets lost for a day or two.. I have been able to find that the ones that are going crazy in producing for use are Valient, and they are four years old this year.

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hi FarmGal, This is turning out to be a bumper year for both the Concord and wild grapes, both here and at the farm. Can’t wait to start using the new food machine on them. Jelly/jam first, juice if we have enough. (Hopefully those extra screens come soon.)

    • Hi Deb,

      I will look to see if I can add two concord’s into the new row we are planning to add in the next year or two, I want to try to make cuttings this year and see if I can learn to make new grape plants, Last year, everyone in our litlte area had poor grape crops, we got hit with a last frost, but this year, its a bumper all round.. Glad its the same in your area.

  5. Linda says:

    Your farm book sounds exactly like what I’ve been searching high and low for; I do hope you will share with us soon! It is overwhelming to try to figure out what to do from day to day, but your blog helps me to put it into more perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of information with us!!

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  8. Linda Steiger says:

    We have a 20 acre vineyard on our farm and have been growing grapes for 40 years. We sell to local processors, but I usually pick some to eat or make into juice for our family every year (and later jelly if we need it). The reason your grapes taste so acid as you mentioned, is you are picking them way too early. The photo you use of grapes in the bowl after picking shows most of them red or even green in color. If these are Concords they are unripe until they turn a dark blue/purple color – grapes with a reddish tinge are still unripe. You can still add sugar of course to sweeten unripe grapes, but its best to leave them on the vine until they fully ripen – this way you use less sugar in canning and do get more juice from the fully ripe berries. Hope this tip helps.

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