Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Autumn Work and Play... Part 1 (The Work Part)

Each year we pluck the concord grapes from our vine and make juice, so we decided to take Thanksgiving Monday to get the job done. It really is a full day's work, but this year we had about half as many grapes as usual, and we had Emma and Isaac to give us a hand.  In case you aren't familiar with the process, here's how we juice our grapes:

Step 1: Get the husband to pick all the grapes off the vine  :) Dawson offered to do this part of the job since we didn't have very many this year. I stayed inside getting the kitchen cleaned up and ready for juicing.

Step 2:  Give the children something to do to keep busy.  Emma and Isaac had a blast eating grapes, picking them off the stems, and eating more grapes. Jeremiah didn't last too long outdoors, so he got to watch his favourite little baby show on the couch.  

Step 3: Bring in all the grapes, finish taking them all off the stems and give them a wash.

Step 4: Find jars.  Put them through the dishwasher to clean and sterilize them.

Step 5: Start juicing!  When we started juicing 5 years ago, we had a hard time using an electric juicer because there are so many seeds and pulp with these grapes.  Dawson's grandmother gave us her stove juicer, and it works SO well for this. 

Put water in the bottom to boil...

Put grapes in the top part with the holes...

The juice from the grapes runs out of the top into the middle container.

Step 6: Fill jars and can. I've learned a short cut to canning from my mother-in-law... once the jars are sterilized, we pour boiling water over the rim of the jar and lid we are about to use to be sure it is clean and hot, dump out the water, and then fill the jar with the boiling juice. Screw on the lid, and wait for it to cool and pop!

Step 7: Enjoy!  The juice is very concentrated, but we have a few ways we like to drink it.  One way is to dilute it with water and add sugar (this way it tastes like the Welches Grape Juice), or the second way we like it is just to add ginger ale.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Love Jenni

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