Our friends, Bonnie and Ben, just moved into an awesome house that has tons of grape vines with TONS of grapes ready to be picked. I was dying for a girls day, so I thought it would be fun to juice the grapes, since there was NO WAY they’d be able to eat them all before they went bad. We started by cleaning all of the delicious grapes in the sink with cold water. Then we stripped them all off of their vines, so that more could fit into the steamer. You don’t have to take them off their vines if you’re just making juice but I used the leftover pulp to make fruit leather, and I didn’t want any of that in my snack, know what I’m sayin’? After the grapes were clean, we placed them in the top of the steamer. I borrowed my grandma’s and it was super easy to use. Just put water in the bottom, the grapes in the top, and a bowl under the hose. After the grapes have been steaming for a while, I started helping them along by using my potato masher to squeeze any extra liquid out. I always try to look my best whilst canning grapes in a hot kitchen all day long! Wink Wink! Not long after starting the juice just started pouring out! It was awesome! It took about an hour of steaming to get ALL of the good juices out of each batch, but we were really filling the steamer up to the top with grapes. By the time we took the picture above, the grapes had really cooked down. Before you start pouring your juice into jars, you can sweeten it if you want. It’s totally up to you. Just taste it and add sugar to your taste. I made half with sugar and half without. I loved it without sugar, but my kids wanted a little sweetener. That’s why I love canning, you get to decide what you want in there! Also, make sure you have sanitized your jars. Even if they’re straight from the store! I put mine in the dishwasher, and kept them on a steam cycle so they were hot when we poured the hot grape juice in. There is a risk of the jars breaking if you pour boiling hot liquid into them when they’re cold, and we didn’t want to risk that. After your grapes are all juiced up, start heating the lids in boiling water to soften the wax. Pour your juice into your sanitized jars within a 1/4 inch of top. Make sure you clean the rims off really well after you pour in the juice. This will help to ensure that they seal well, and that they are sanitary! Now place the heated lids on the jars, and tighten the rings as tight as you can. Now the juice needs a water bath. I didn’t get a picture of the jars in the pan, but you need a big pan like the one pictured below. The rack inside keeps the jars from banging against each other. Bring the pot of water to a rapid boil, and add the cans of juice. We are at a high elevation, so we processed the jars of juice for 15 minutes. After carefully removing the jars, we set them on a towel. There is a can grabber you can buy to help get the jars out of the pot, I didn’t get a picture, but it looks like this. Do not bump or disturb the jars for 24 hours afterwards. You should hear some popping as the lids seal to the jars! Delicious and fresh, and although it takes all day long, it’s almost free if you get the grapes for free! Thanks Bonnie and Ben! I can’t wait to show you what we did with the leftover grape pulp tomorrow! P.S. The grape juice is a little pink because there were a few red grapes that snuck their way into the group! Jessica 🙂
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