Preserving grape juice

Making juice at home is simple and puts you in control of nutrition content.

Have you ever considered making your own grape juice? If you have access to grapes on a vine, it is simple to do and the results are rewarding. You can even control the amount of sugar you add or don’t add. Since grapes are a fruit and fruit has a higher acid content, they are processed using a boiling water bath method.

Let’s get started by picking ripe grapes off the vine. They can be picked in bunches then separated from the stems and washed. After grapes are separated, put them in a large kettle and fill the pan with enough boiling water to cover the grapes. Heat the grapes, letting them simmer until the skins are soft. Set up a strainer with double cheese cloth or a jelly bag and carefully place the heated grapes in the strainer system, letting the juice run through the cloth. Place the strained container of juice in a refrigerator to cool 24 to 48 hours.

When you are ready to preserve the grape juice, remove it from the refrigerator without disturbing the sediment on the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour or dip the liquid off into another pan. If you would like to have a clearer juice, pour it through another filter - like cheese cloth or even a coffee filter. Add as little, or as much, sugar you like to sweeten the grape juice, and then heat to boiling. Pour the hot juice into hot, sterilized pints or quarts jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Carefully clean off the rim of the jar, place a lid and ring on the jar and begin the water bath process. The water bath process is when jars are placed in a kettle of water that is brought to a boil. The water in the kettle must be one to two inches above the jars. Process pints or quarts for 5 minutes.

Grape juice can also be stored in half gallon jars and they are processed for 10 minutes. (Be sure the water bath canner can contain enough water to cover the half gallon jars.)

Michigan State University recommends going to the National Center for Home Food Preservation to check for correct boiling water bath canning technique. It is also important to process according to the altitude of your location so check the altitude chart for correct times. 

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