Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making Wild Grape Juice

In order to make grape jelly, one must first make grape juice.

Take three pounds of de-stemmed and washed wild grapes:

Dump them into a large pot and smash them a bit with a potato masher (or other clean instrument suitable for smashing).  Pour 3 cups of water over them and turn the heat onto medium / high, occasionally stirring and gently smashing the grapes.  I simmered my pot for about fifteen minutes.

Take the pot of grape stew off the burner and strain it through a sieve.  I gave it a good smoosh with the masher in order to get as much grapey goodness out of it.  Some people will swear that you have to just let the stuff drip through a jelly bag (or good cheesecloth) in order to get the clearest juice.  But since I'm impatient, I speed things up a bit and smash mine.  I'm sure there's more sediment in my jelly this way, but I'm not that particular on having a crystal-clear jelly.

After straining/smooshing through the sieve, I strain it through the sieve again but this time I line it with a clean cloth.  This will eliminate most of the solid grapey stuff (i.e. sediment).  At first the juice will pour right through the cloth, but very shortly the dripping stalls to a maddening slower-than-molasses drip.  So I rinse out the cloth and strain the remaining juice through the clean cloth.  I have to do this cloth-cleaning several times.
Straining juice after several cloth-cleanings.
Aren't those colors just beautiful?
From three batches (each 3 lbs. grapes to 3 cups water) I got thirteen cups of grape juice.  It's a beautiful, dark purple.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

Those jars went into the refrigerator.  I was going to start right on making jelly from there, but I needed a break (and needed to start on supper).  Tomorrow is Jelly Time!


  1. Looks Yummy!!!
    I'm thinking maybe grape jelly turn overs :-)

  2. Oh my, I think I can actually smell that lovely aroma! How I miss our grapes we used to have in hot, muggy Illinoisland. Starting grapes up here in northern Minnie-soda has always been on The List and we hear they have some fantastic varieties that will actually LIVE AND GROW up here near the tundra now so, who knows? Maybe grapes will actually appear on this here old homestead soon!

    Enjoy the lovely jelly soon to appear in your kitchen!

  3. Are they muscadines? Muscadine jelly is my absolute best favorite! I'm hoping we get a good crop this year.

  4. Looks good! I love your cartoons at the end of your posts ☺

  5. It is a lovely color! Can't wait to see the jelly! :)

  6. Man o man, that's a lot of juice! Is the ratio of jelly:juice equal, or do you get more/less jelly? My inquiring mind needs to know. I think that grape jelly (wild, homemade) is my favorite jelly.

  7. My Gramdma made grape juice, grape jelly, grape jam, and grape pies. OMG, I miss those pies! Wonderful concords that she grew :)

  8. Oh how I love grape jelly! Your pictures are just beautiful, nothing as pretty as the color of grapes! My Aunt B. just made jelly from grapes her neighbor gave her... she's in her 70's and cans all the time!

  9. Sandy, I wish I knew how to make turnovers! Think that may be on my "to learn" list.

    Mama Pea, the kitchen smell was dEE-vine! Get it, vine, as in grapes?! I crack myself up sometimes.

    Leigh, I'm pretty sure they are Fox Grapes.

    Kelly, see, I'm always good for a laugh! Or is it a sob? Oh well. :)

    Susan, you actually get a more jelly than what juice you started with. I started with ten cups of juice and after the sugar was added I got nine pints of jelly (eighteen cups if my figgering is correct).

    Nancy, I've never had a grape pie. Actually, I've never had one but the words "grape" and "pie" never sounded good together. I guess I just imagined a bunch of overripe green grapes smashed up in a pie crust. I'll have to look up a recipe now so I can put my ill-founded fears to rest.