Homemade Grape Juice
Every single one of my Christmas memories includes Christmas brunch at my grandma’s house. Some mornings we rushed there with our freshly opened toys to gobble down food and head to celebrate with the other side of the family. Other memories are of slower mornings where we start at my parents and my favorite part of the morning was lighting the final advent calendar and reading the Bible. Egg casseroles, breakfast sausages, toast (that we’re lucky if grandma doesn’t burn), and grape juice. As kids, we guzzled down the grape juice. As an adult it’s a special treat now. When a friend of mine offered us some grapes I was as excited as I was when we hustled to grandma’s for grape juice. Now we’re trying our hand at homemade grape juice which is sure to be even more special.
Juice From Concentrate
A lot of juices that you buy from the store are from concentrate. I’ve never really understood what the difference was in juices and didn’t really pay attention. For as long as I’ve known about a difference in healthy food vs. non-healthy food I knew that juice was off the list. I was always told it was full of sugar so steered clear. Plus, not drinking it makes Christmas grape juice even more special.
So what does from concentrate mean? It means that there is high-fructose corn syrup in your juice. What does high fructose corn syrup do? It causes any of the excess sugar in the juice to be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly. This is then what causes high fructose corn syrup to lead to obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. As Americans, we consume too much sugar as it is. When you combine that with high fructose corn syrup we are not only consuming the sugar but forcing it into our bloodstream at an alarming rate.
All fruit juices will have sugar in it. This is simply because fruit has sugar in it. The important measure to look at is the added sugars. If there are added sugars they are sweetening the juice beyond it’s normal level. Personally, I think juice is sweet enough as is! Being that this is our first time making homemade grape juice we are testing out different sugar levels for this recipe. We made some jars that had no added sugar, some that had ¼ cup of added sugar, and others at the directed ratio.
How Many Grapes?
We picked a 5 gallon bucket ¾ full of grapes for this round. For us, that lead to 14 quarts of juice. Honestly it’s going to depend on how big your grapes are. If you have big grapes your 2 cups will be less grapes than if you are picking small grapes. Ours were what I would consider medium grapes. They were slightly smaller than what you would get from the store.
What Type of Grapes?
These grapes were given to us so we didn’t have a choice in types of grape. That means I’m certainly not an expert by any means. The grapes that we used are concord grapes. I’m sure you’ve heard of them because they make some awesome wine too. I’ve been told that you can make grape juice from wild grapes as well. I’m sure that they will have a slightly different flavor but it seems like all grape juice should taste like, well, grape juice regardless of what type of grapes you use. I assume it’s not that easy with wine though.
- ½ Cup Sugar per quart
- Water Bath Canning Equipment
- Remove all of the stems from the grapes and clean them.
- Add 2 cups of clean grapes to each quart jar.
- Add ½ cup of sugar to each jar.
- Fill the rest of the jar with water up to the hips of the jar.
- Water Bath process the jars for 15 minutes.
- Remove jars and let them sit without moving them for 24-48 hours.
- Let the jars sit for a minimum of 4-6 weeks.
I know, it’s hard to not consume them right away. Trust me, this is our first time making the juice and I cannot wait to try it. Thankfully, our friend’s dad gave us a taste of his. It had been sitting for about 4 years and it was so good. Yes, you read that correctly, it had been sitting for 4 years! The shelf life on this can be as long as you want it to be. It’s kind of like wine.
Products From Juice
If you aren’t a big homemade grape juice drinker there are other things that you can do with the juice. Once you make juice you can turn it into grape jelly. We prefer to use pomona’s pectin for the jelly and that can help you to keep the sugar low. You can also turn your juice into wine! I researched this a little bit briefly to see if it is something we want to do. Eventually, I believe that we will give this a shot. For this particular batch we are just going to use it as a special treat for ourselves when we have breakfast with friends and family. I’m so excited to be able to bring this to the table. It’s always so special for me to share things that we’ve made homemade.
I’d love to know what type of grapes you guys are using for your grape juice! Are you using it to drink or are you using it to make other products? Let us know in the comments.
- Water Bath Canner
- 1/2 Cup Sugar PER QUART
- Clean your quart jars.
- Remove all the stems from the grapes and clean them.
- Add 2 cups of grapes to each quart jar.
- Add 1/2 cup of sugar to each jar.
- Fill the remainder of the jar up with water to the hips of the jar.
- Water bath process for 15 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the bath and allow them to sit for 24-48 hours.
- Let the juice sit for 4-6 weeks before opening them.