We have an abundance of grapes. I mean an abundance! It is so wonderful to walk out the back door into the smell of grape jelly. We have so many grapes that I had to come up with something to do other than make grape jelly, since we can't eat that many pb & j's!
So what does one do with so many grapes? Make grape jelly of course! But the first step to making jelly is making the juice... so I pulled out the canning books and figured it out. Here's what you do...
Step 1. Pick those grapes & give them a good rinse
Step 2. Sit in front of the boob-tube and start pulling grapes off the stem, resist the urge to feed them seductively to your love. As you pull them off, give them a squeeze when you drop them into the pot, or after you have plucked them all into the pot, give them a mash with a potato masher.
Step 3. Add enough water to almost cover the grapes and start to heat over medium high heat until you get to a simmer.
Step 4. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes, until everything is all soft and falling apart, and you can't find any whole grapes.
Step 5. Strain through several layers of cheese cloth.
Step 6. Chill in the fridge, at least over night.
Step 7. Strain one more time through cheese cloth, trying to leave as much sediment in the bottom of your container as possible.
Step 8. Enjoy your amazing treat or can for a rainy winter day.
To preserve the grape juice:
Step 1. Bring the juice from above recipe to 190 degrees and keep at 190 degrees for 5 minutes.
Step 2. Pour into canning jars that have been sterlized and heated in boiling water of your canning kettle.
Step 3. Fill hot jars with hot grape juice to 1/4" of the top, and close with two piece canning lid.
Step 4. Process in boiling water, covering tops of jars by at least 1", for 15 minutes.
Step 5. Allow to cool undisturbed overnight and make sure the lids have sealed by pushing down on the tops. If there is any movement of the lid, your jar didn't seal and you should just enjoy that beautiful grape juice now because you don't want to drink it later after it has spoiled... although I do believe they call that wine :)
The really neat thing about having so many grapes, is that I get to pass on my abundant blessing to others, and this year I am doing this by canning grape juice for Communion at church. It is really amazing to think that my passion for gardening and cooking is something that I can share with my entire community! It is so amazing to me that I get to share my gifts this way :)