I bought 18 lbs. of local Concord grapes for $15 - I was asking for a half-bushel and this is the amount the farmer prepared for me. I need to record how I processed them.
I made filling for two grape pies, following the recipe in Mennonite Community Cookbook. I cooked the filling until thick, and I will freeze it. My friend Jonel tipped me off to cook the filling again when it thaws, and then to cool it before pouring it in the pie shell. There are two grape pies in my winter, and I am so excited for them!
Then I put the rest of the grapes in the top of the nifty steamer that Rebecca loaned me. Water goes in the bottom, grapes go in the top, and they steam into juice in the middle that I siphon into jars. I add a little water and 1 Tbsp. sugar to each jar. Boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Finally, I made spiced grape butter from the stuff left from the juice. Three pints of that, canned in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
And stained purple hands to show from all this.
I think I missed the grapes this year. :( I usually order some from an Amish store, but alas, I forgot! I still have some juice left from last year, but I don't have a juicer. I put about 1 cup of grapes in the bottom of a jar...too much sugar on top...fill with boiling water...hot water bath after that. It makes just enough for the four of us to have a small cup with Saturday morning's pancakes!
With a handy pitcher of iced tea to get you through the process!
That steaming business intrigues me - the juices just come out when they're steamed! Amazing. (And so is all that work you did!)
We grow hardy Valiant grapes in Southern Alberta that are like very small Concords. I steam juice them all the time, but I didn't know I could make something from the leftover pulp. Do your grapes have seeds? How does one make grape pie without seeds?
Wilde Family, I pinch the flesh out of the grape skins and cook it with the seeds still in it for about 5 minutes. Then I force it through a strainer, leaving the seeds behind. Regarding the grape butter, I take the whole business (seeds, stems, skins) left from steam juicing and force it through my food mill or strainer, leaving me with a rich purple pulp. I blogged more about the grape butter in this post: http://thriftathome.blogspot.com/2014/09/spiced-grape-butter-from-leftovers.html
Oh, yum! And a good deal! We didn't get any for processing this year, but I sure ate my fill--until mouth and hands were stained! They're so great. Candy in grape form.
Or heat the canned filling till it bubbles, pour hot into the crust and top with crumbs, and bake at 425 till crust and crumbs are well browned. Didn't your kitchen just smell delectable?
I have access to many many pounds of free Concord grapes (on my grandparents' and great-grandparents' vines!)....I need to get off my duff and make some juice and jelly this year. I have the best memories of making these with my grandmother in her basement kitchen, on her stainless steel countertops. How I miss that enterprise!
Interesting reading - we eat so little in the way of bottled/canned goods but your accounts are always interesting to me. (Not sure how I missed this post until now!)
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