My kids were out of school Monday. So we headed up to my mother-in-law’s home to pick Concord Grapes. She says the best time to pick Concord grapes is right after the first cold snap.
Picking grapes is a great activity for kids. Since they love both grape juice and PB and J’s with homemade Grape Jelly, it’s easy to get them motivated to get picking. My mother-in-law had a bumper crop this year and we were able to pick one five gallon bucket and plus a box full.
After picking we headed home to warm up (we had some snow flurries flying while picking) and to process the grapes. The first step is to remove the stems from the grapes. This is also a perfect job for kids. Make sure to remove any leaves or other debris.
Rinse the grapes in a colander. This bowl of grapes has been stemmed, rinsed and is waiting to go into the Steam Canner. Notice there are a few little pieces of stems. I am never too fussy about those, as a few don’t seam to affect the flavor of the juice.
Remember this old juice steamer? I loaded the grapes as high as I could into this old friend. As soon as they start juicing, the lid falls into place.
And here’s the result… nearly 12 quarts of concentrated grape juice. They went into the refrigerator over night to give the sediment time to settle to the bottom. Then I can pour off the juice and leave the sediment.
It’s is going to be a busy day… I have to make 5 large pans of Lasagna and 3 batches of shortbread cookies for a dinner for the teachers on Wednesday… and the grape jelly and juice process. My mom always said hard work never killed anyone. Let’s hope she’s right.