2013 Food Preservation Season: Concord Grape Juice

October 3, 2013 · 3 comments

concord grape juice // Wayward Spark

What: concord grape juice

Main ingredients and where I got them: The grapes came from my parents’ farm.

How much: I processed one industrial sized bowl of grapes and got about six quarts of juice.

Recipe: I used a steam juicer for the first time and followed these directions. I canned five quarts by processing them for 5 minutes (10 minutes for half gallons) in a boiling water bath.

Other Comments: 

Concord grapes are the prettiest, and they produce an über-grapey, almost syrupy juice. It’s pretty intense. Some folks add sugar to their grape juice if it’s too tart. I didn’t this time, but I might sneak a spoonful or two of honey in later.

Concord grapes are sweetest if you can wait until just before the season’s first freeze to pick (or buy) them. With the unseasonably torrential rains we’ve been having around here for the last few days, September actually broke a record for the wettest in Oregon’s history. The extra rains are threatening the bumper crop of grapes around western Oregon because the uptake of moisture can cause splitting and encourage mold growth. For wine grapes, a big industry around here, the rains can seriously mess with the sugar content, producing an inferior vintage of wine.

At my parents’ place, the concords were starting to crack, and some creatures (birds?) were harvesting more than their fair share. I decided it was time to reap the bounty before they were all ruined or gone. I leaned that I’m not very fast at cutting grapes, and I’m glad I don’t have to do it for a living.

A steam juicer is a large, relatively expensive thing to own (and store) if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year, but for the job it does, it’s kind of a miracle. You just load the top basket with a bunch of fruit, stems, seeds, and all, and then after an hour or so on the stove, you get to pour debris-free juice out of an easy-to-regulate hose. I stopped by my neighbors’ house the other day, and they had just finished a marathon of de-stemming, crushing, boiling, straining, re-straining, and bottling a bunch of grapes for juice, and it sounded like quite a process compared to the ease of the steam juicer. I told them they should borrow our juicer unit next fall.

My mom bought a Nutri Steamer on sale a couple years ago at Bi-Mart (that always stocks a great selection of canning and preserving supplies in the late summer). I think it cost around $60. You can find a similar one (though it’s a different brand) on Amazon here.

More concord grape ideas: Yossy‘s concord grape pie and concord grape jam and handpiesKimberley‘s concord grape sorbet

concord grapes // Wayward Spark

concord grapes // Wayward Spark

This is part of a collection of posts documenting my food preservation activities this summer/fall (more info here). Please feel free to comment with a link to food preservation activities on your own blogs or links to recipes you’re following or you’d like to try from other blogs.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan October 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Mmm, grape juice!

I fell massively in love with concord grapes this autumn. I’d never really gone for them before, but then my mom grew them and my boyfriend’s family always has them in droves… I think they’re my new favorite fall fruit. I made my first grape pie a few weeks ago — it was a hit. It’s so good, especially with a bit of thick honeyed yogurt!

So, how do you store all your bounty before you get around to processing it? Maybe you are way more on the stick than I, but at one point I had bags of peaches, bags of tomatoes, and a whopping number of grapes. My small apartment kitchen was fruit fly heaven and I was overwhelmed. I know you also have a small space to work in. How’d you do it?!

I’m impressed with all your food preservation posts – thanks for sharing. :)


Camille October 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I try not to let produce sit around for too long, but I have to admit that currently I have a bowl of hot peppers (for more jam) on the kitchen table and three flats of tomatoes on the kitchen floor. We have a little mudroom/laundry room/pantry-type area, which is actually just a closed in section of our back porch. Most of the large quantities of fruits and vegetables that won’t be processed immediately go out there.


Paula March 29, 2014 at 4:17 am

we borrowed a juicer like that a couple years ago. It worked well. we have concord grapes & made wine-which is yeuch. we has some other sweeter grapes that we made another batch with & it came out okay. I will be on the lookout for one at garage sales! (I need a book of things to be on the lookout for!)


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