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Meli
September 18th, 2013, 11:56 PM
DH came to me the other day and said he wanted to pick all the grapes and make grape juice. Immediately I started thinking about all the pieces of equipment that we don't have. Like the juicing sieve at my mother's house. And the canning pot at my mother's house. You get the idea. I have a pressure cooker that processes pint jars beautifully. Ok, it'll do quarts, but only if you use it as a covered pot and not a pressure cooker. I didn't get a chance to present my misgivings, however, because DH had already improvised with a cut up shirt and a colander. Umm.. ok.

Monday, we picked about 1/3 of the grapes, which filled two standard coolers. We spent a couple hours removing the grapes from the stems. The plucked grapes completely filled one of the coolers! Tuesday (after going to three different stores to find canning jars and cheesecloth), DH started squishing grapes by hand. I have him the potato masher and a larger container. We cooked the grapes a bit, then strained them, squeezed the pulp, then put the juice in 1/2 gallon jars and gallon pitchers, and an empty ice cream bucket to rest in the fridge overnight. And while I was processing juice, DH was out picking more grapes. Until I said ENOUGH!!! With 5 gallons in the fridge already, do we really need more?

DH's youngest son, Jason, had been helping us pick and mash (he took over the mashing and had a blast with it). DH took him home and talked with his ex-wife for a bit. She sent him home with a very tall stock pot and a steamer juicer pot.

Tonight, with the help of my amazing nephew, we filled the steamer basket with grapes and set it to work steaming and juicing the grapes picked yesterday. Then we got the juice from yesterday, strained it into a big pot and set it to simmer, washed out the large 1/2 gallon bottles, and, over the course of several hours, processed 3 of the 1/2 gallon bottles and 6 quarts, some with the mashed grape juice, some with the steamed juice.

As I write this, I've got three more 1/2 gallon jars, and have another batch of grapes in the steamer. The smell in my house is heavenly! The mashed juice is beautiful. But the steamed juice is this fabulous, rich, jewel tone of purple. It's so gorgeous!

Haven't tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Putting up any kind of food fills me with comfort, and listening to the lids ping always makes me laugh. Love that sound!

PeggyM
September 19th, 2013, 12:14 AM
I can smell it from here! Are your hands purple?

K. McEuen
September 19th, 2013, 12:15 AM
You all needed a giant barrel to mash the grapes with your feet!

I helped a friend of mine make relish about a month ago. She cans a lot of stuff and I was wanting to learn. My mom used to make some jelly once in a while, but I was too young to pay any attention then.

Lisapc
September 19th, 2013, 12:33 AM
Your story gave me visions of my mothers face when Dad would say blackberry picking time. She would make pies, jam and more pies and more jam and had that horrible look on her face the whole time. Then one year the poor deer were starving and ate the whole patch. Not one blackberry bush ever grew back and she finally told him how she felt about his blackberry picking and the weekends of work it caused her.

I am like you, the work is arduous but the results are so worth it!

bkthomas
September 19th, 2013, 12:43 AM
Sounds like you are having a good time....glad to hear it....keeping you in my prayers....

SuzyQue
September 19th, 2013, 01:23 AM
From your description, I can smell the grape juice and hear the lids pop! I know it is too late now, but I have an awesome juice recipe that is a lot less work, but still taste scrumptious.....ask me about it before you can next summer! Enjoy the bounty of your hard work!!

bubba
September 19th, 2013, 01:37 AM
It makes me think of Lucy!!! I bet it will be good! I think I'd be tempted to freeze the juice rather than can it, but I've never processed juice before, just pears, peaches and asparagus.

Meli
September 19th, 2013, 08:58 PM
Final Count: 8 3/4 gallons of grape juice. It's a mixture of concord and white grapes, so sweet we didn't add any sugar. In fact, when we start opening these up to drink, we may have to water it down, as it's pretty strong stuff.

ilive2craft2
September 19th, 2013, 09:12 PM
Sounds wonderful! We did not do juice, but have helped with jellies and tomatoes and green beans in the past. There is no sweeter sound than the lids popping

Sandy Navas
September 19th, 2013, 10:48 PM
A picture of Meli so you can see her in action:
https://paperandstring-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/post/alternative_photo/2948/medium_i_love_lucy_-stomping_grapes.jpg (http://www.paperandstring.com/page/12)

Judy~Ann
September 19th, 2013, 10:51 PM
Hopefully your feet aren't purple Sandy. I can only imagine how your house smells........ delish
I can smell it from here! Are your hands purple?

PeggyM
September 19th, 2013, 10:53 PM
Hahaha! That's what came to my mind.