Earlier in the year, when the fruit trees were dormant, I hired a fruit tree expert to come and discuss my mini orchard with me, as well as prune my trees. I was given some bad news. Essentially I had annihilated my apple tree as well as my grapevine. I was told neither would produce very well this year. The grapes would recover next year, and the apples, well, let’s not discuss that now.
She was right about the apples. But happily, the grapes have produced wildly. One side is bare of fruit, so I certainly would have had a better yield had I not hacked the poor thing up, but lucky for me the vine was more forgiving of me than perhaps it should have been.
My mother-in-law had canned grape juice the year before, with whole grapes. I loved the look of the jars. And because grapes come to bear during a busy season, it seemed an easier task to put up a bunch of grape juice for the kids. The hardest thing about this recipe is pulling the grapes from the vine.
I tried this recipe out with two different types of grapes: perlettes (a green, European table grape) and champagne grapes (teeny tiny red grapes). The recipe will work better with the smaller, juicier varieties. My assumption is that if you were going to use a concord grape, you should go the traditional route of squashing and juicing the fruit.
This grape juice method essentially uses a raw pack process. You can do the same recipe to can a whole jar of grapes, in which case you would simply fill the jar with grapes, and then add the syrup. You can adjust the syrup to your liking. I use a very light amount of syrup for this recipe to get as close to the natural sugar levels in most fruits. It also adds the fewest calories.
The final product is a very fresh tasting grape juice, which tastes more like grape and less like sugar. Enjoy!
Canned Grape Juice
makes three quart jars
3 cups whole grapes, off the vine
1 cup sugar
10 cups water
- Sterilize your jars and lids.
- Stem, wash, and drain grapes.
- Prepare a syrup by combining the sugar and water and bringing it to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Add 1 cup of grapes to each quart jar. Ladle hot syrup into jars, being sure to release the air bubbles, until there’s 1 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims and seal the jar.
- Process in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes (start counting once the water has reached a boil), more depending on altitude.