A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet, Lucious Grape Juice

My annual preserving agenda would not be complete without a visit to pick grapes for grape juice at Firefly Berries (Dean and Tonya Sonner)--formerly Sterling Farm.  Their variety of grapes (and other berries) are so sweet that the juice needs no added sugar (and I have a sweet tooth, so that says a lot!)  We have been making this annual trip for several years, but always seem to underestimate how much we'll need to get through the Winter.  We end up coveting the last few jars.   This year we wanted to be sure we had enough--
All 74 pounds of them!

Why so much grape juice?  Aside from the taste, grape juice is better for the heart than orange or grapefruit juice.  An 8-10 oz glass of grape juice daily reduces the risk of platelets forming clots which can lead to heart attacks.  Since we have a glass of juice daily; we thought why not have the healthier of the three, and one which is derived from local produce.
Homemade grape juice is of better quality; but, surprisingly, cheaper!
(that is if you consider the home-processing time spent enriching--I do!)
Two quarts of homemade juice (including the canning lid) is cheaper and has a richer flavor than two quarts of W*****'s grape juice from concentrate.

The juicing process is very simple; basically, wash grapes and put in steamer pot and turn on the heat.  The juice will flow through plastic tubing to your waiting pot or jars.  Process pints & quarts for 15 min in a boiling water bath. For juice-extracting equipment, I recommend the Mehu-Liisa Steamer/Juicer.  It must be ordered online (google it).  It's expensive, but I settled on this brand after much research and blogging with cooks.
One of thirty-four quarts!

The title of this post gives me away--I love our homemade grapejuice.

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