Monday, March 20, 2017
Concord Grape Juice
Last fall, my neighbors told me to come take the grapes off of their vine. They don't use them any more, and the grapes were just feeding the squirrels. I hadn't canned in years, but I couldn't turn down the generous offer of free concord grapes.
I made a batch or two of horrible grape jelly. It was still usable. It tasted good, but it was too hard. I figured it could be popped into the microwave, warmed, softened, and used in other recipes.
I did more research on-line about grape jelly and concord grapes. I learned which stage of ripeness is best for jelly, and which is better for juice. I found out that pectin is more available in the fruit at certain times. In my research, I found a recipe for grape juice. Jackpot. This is what I was meant to make. Purple perfection.
Today, I opened one of the few jars I have left. When I canned the grapes, I left them in the juice to macerate for months. When I'm ready, I empty the jar into another through a coarse filter. Sometimes, I squeeze it through a cheesecloth to get every precious drop. I don't mind if my juice is cloudy. It's ambrosial.
I hope my neighbors are feeling generous again this year. I love this juice so much that I planted three different types of my own. I don't know if they made it through the winter, but oh I hope they did. I am better prepared with more cans to fill and share.
Truly, I think I have a bad case of Spring Fever. All of my treasures from last year's gardens are dwindling. I want things to grow so badly. Until then, I will keep the last of my juice, slowly sipping a little at a time, waiting for the weather to cooperate enough to plant.