Finally my last post about canning grape juice/ grapes!
First off I should mention something that I haven't through all this. If you can get your hands on an electric juicer that may be your best option for getting grape juice without a fuss. I don't know much about them as I've never had or used one. Are they horrible to try to clean? Would they be impractical when doing as many grapes as I did? Sadly I don't know the answers to those questions. It's worth looking into though if you have one or know someone who does.
Now I want to mention that if you don't plan on using the grape pulp for anything, you can at least get more juice out of all the leftover grape gunk if you are patient. Just stick all that grape gunk in some kind of colander like so:
Let it drain overnight and you'll find you've got a bunch more juice (depending on how much you are draining.)
Now I want to talk about what I have done with all the grape goop or pulp after getting all the juice out. If you have seedless grapes you can just blend all that grape pulp up in the blender. If there are seeds then about the only thing you can do is put it through a food strainer of some sort. I have an old Victorio strainer like this:
Well, for starters, make grape JAM!
As for the rest of my pulp, I wasn't able to use it immediately, so I just canned it to save for other things. Notice how little juice has separated from the pulp in the jars there in the middle? I REALLY did a good job of getting every last ounce of juice off.
The other thing I used it for a few weeks later was this:
Other ideas for what to do with it would be to freeze it in cubes and use it for smoothies. Or, make some kind of thick grape syrup for pancakes and such. Grape jello anyone? Grape yogurt? Ooh, I hadn't thought of that before. I'll have to try it out on my kids soon and see what they think. Mmmmmm.....
Now, one last thing to bring up here is canning WHOLE grapes. Check out THIS site for a simple explanation of how to do that. That's your official guideline. There's also a way of canning grape juice that involves putting just a few whole grapes in the jar along with a little sugar and a bunch of water. You process it and when you open the jar you have juice that doesn't need to be reconstituted.
Canning whole grapes seems a little odd to me, but if you have grapes coming out your ears and don't have the time to do anything with them some year it's very simple to toss them in a jar and can 'em. They will take up TONS more room that way though. As for canning a few grapes in a jar to make juice, again, it seems like a good idea if you are really limited on time, or have no way of juicing the grapes besides the long messy tedious route. Or if you are only doing a few and don't want to make a big old mess of your kitchen just to get the juice out of a few grapes.
I never can the whole grapes because I've had the time, etc. to do otherwise and because it's not practical for three reasons:
1-The grapes take up much more room that way.
2-It's hard to predict how many grapes and how much water need to go in the jar for the juice to taste right.
3-Why can WATER? This last one really gets me. I'm not going to put a cup of grapes in a jar and fill it with WATER! I'd much rather can straight grape juice that's concentrated and then add water when I open it. Canning lids are an expense and I don't want to waste them on jars mostly full of water.
Well, I'm finally out of things to say about grapes. Aren't you relieved? The only other thing I might mention is that your house may be a disaster for a few days and the pile of dishes can be unbelievable: