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Fall is such a busy but beautiful time. I’m reminded of how God knows exactly what to give us so we’re prepared before the storms of life hit. If we preserve His gifts in our hearts, then we’ll be well stocked during the harsh months of winter.
We have a grape arbor in our back yard and two kinds of grapes. One is a sweet seedless green table grape given to me by a co-worker. The other is Niagra, it’s supposed to be a table and wine grape, but never gets sweet for us. Being a true pioneer woman, I hate to see them go to waste.
I decided to make homemade grape juice, which I can then turn into grape jelly, beings they definitely need sugar added to be palatable.
I plucked all the grapes from the stem and then set them in my largest pot and just covered them with water. Allow to boil for about five minutes, or until the skin splits. Drain and then put through a sieve.
If you’re just going to make grape jelly, then there’s no need for the next step. Simply pour back into a large pot, add your sugar, then ladle into jars and process.
But for grape juice, we’ll need to get it clearer. Put your sieved juice into the fridge for at least 12 hours but no more than 24. (You don’t want it to start to ferment)
After 12 hours in the fridge, pour the cold juice into cheesecloth and allow to sit until all the juice has drained out.
Put in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add in sugar to taste. I added 1/8 cup sugar to 3 cups grapes. It’s a little tart, but I didn’t want it to be syrupy sweet. My three-year-old drank it up.
Store in the fridge, freeze, or seal in canning jars. It’s still has a little bit of pulp in it, but I prefer it that way. If you’d like it clear, you can put through the cheesecloth a second time.
I froze 6 cups of the juice that I only put through the sieve to make grape jelly in a group class I’ll be teaching in November.
What’s your favorite kind of grape? Do you have a favorite fall harvest?
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.