Grape Juice Process
The housewife who does precious little canning and freezing has rows of rich and tasty grape juice lined up on her kitchen counter.
A friend of mine shared her stress-free method of obtaining grape juice concentrate and I was interested. Complicated canning rituals have me running in the opposite direction. It is quite true, I've been less-than-virtuous in that department according to the standard set by my Amish and Mennonite culture. But this was as simple as a text to another friend, placing an order, and having it delivered to my doorstep last night. So far, so good!
Bright and early this morning, I began filling jars. Quart jars, pint jars, and any plastic jugs I could find. I froze about 2 gallons in the jugs to cut down on the amount of jars I had to buy. You start pouring juice from a barrel into a tiny pint jar and you realize you need another plan! I only had a dozen quarts when in reality I needed sixty. Forget about anything larger because my canner won't handle it.
In the hustle and bustle of the past few weeks I hadn't collected those extra jars, so I made a stop at a local grocery store and grabbed 2 dozen off the shelf. I piled the jars plus groceries into the back seat of the car and got in. For some odd reason the car decided that was the perfect time to die. I'd manage to get it started but there was no moving it backward or forward out of that parking spot. Each time I tried, the engine died. After a few quick calls for help, we had a tow truck on the way. Meanwhile, I walked up the long hill to Rebecca's Bistro where Jacki was working and told her I need her vehicle to get home. A kind co-worker graciously offered to give her a lift at the end of the work day. I hurried home with my jars, hoping the delay would not have me at this project all day.
Here is how I did it, but I'm sure there are other ways that work as well or better.
fill with juice
cover jars with lids and rings
place jars in canner
add water until tops of jars are almost covered
place on stovetop and bring to boil
I still don't know the exact amount of time required, but it seems anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes works, depending on altitude and jar size. I went with 15 minutes for pints and 20 for quarts. The popping sound of sealing jars is music to my ears...and I hope it means I did it right!
This afternoon I finally paused long enough to take a few sips of the pure concentrate straight out of the barrel. It is dark, rich and oh-so-tasty! Though I've never been a great fan of grape juice, I have a hunch that is about to change. I love this stuff!
There is something most rewarding about having rows and rows of fruity goodness to take us through the winter. Add to that the fact that the taste and quality is superb and I am totally sold on canning my own grape juice. Both my husband and son drink it year round and in sizable quantities. Amazingly, I'll even be saving lots of money. Now I am feeling virtuous!
That is the story of my uncomplicated canning day!