Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Grape Harvest 2015

We picked the grapes this weekend, since the majority of them seem to be ripe.  Strangely, the green ones are just as sweet as the red ones.  Since some were starting to shrivel up and go bad, we decided that it was time to harvest even though they weren't all red.

I picked a total of 39 pounds off the single vine.  We've also been snacking on them for a couple weeks, and there are still a few bunches that weren't quite ripe which we left for more snacking.  I would say that this vine easily produced close to 50 pounds of fruit this year.  I have no idea if that is a good amount for a grapevine or not, but it seems pretty impressive to me. 

The bulk of the grape harvest 2015: 39 pounds from one vine.

I did the first batch of juice by picking 15 pounds worth of grapes off their stems, washing them, mashing them, cooking them for about 45 minutes until they were soft, then straining them through a jelly bag to drain off the juice.

First batch, 15 pounds cooking down.

While that worked, it took forever to strain the juice.  My jelly bag only held a third of the grape pulp, and there was so much fine sediment that it clogged the bag to a slow drip.  I ended up rigging up two more "jelly bags" out of dish towels, string, and two large bowls, and hung them from the pot rack.

Finally, after about a day and a half, the juice was pretty much finished draining.  I called it done, canned it up, and yay!  I have 8 pints of grape juice!

First eight pints of grape juice

Then I looked at the rest of the grapes that were waiting to be processed (26 pounds), and decided that there was no way I wanted to spend four more days waiting for the next two batches of juice to drain.  I took myself down to BiMart and got a steamer juicer, which very conveniently was on sale at 60% off.

Hmmm, still 26 pounds of grapes left after the first batch... I have a steam juicer now.

You put the fruit in the colander basket (top compartment), and boil water in the bottom pan.  The steam rises through a funnel in the center compartment into the colander in the top, cooks and breaks down the fruit, and the juice drips down to the middle compartment and drains out via the tube.

This is SO MUCH EASIER!!!  You don't even have to take the grapes off the stems!  Just wash and put them in the pot!  The yield was exactly the same, the juice comes out much clearer with almost no sediment, and there is no straining required!

I processed the entire remaining 26 pounds tonight, in about three hours.

Finished! A total of 27 pints of grape juice.

So now I have a total of 27 pints of grape juice ready to store.  I did these in pints instead of quarts because I know my daughter.  If I put the juice up in quarts, it would be gulped down by the quart.  This way, we can split a pint between us so it's savored as a special treat.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

very cool! i would love to taste this actually (not gulping down a pint, but a little shot of it)...i've never tried home-made grapejuice...

pretty impressive all the things you are doing this summer with your produce!