Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grapes & Canning Season!

It is Canning and Grape Season! I wanted to share with you one of the ways that we save money through the winter is by canning up whatever we can get either out of our garden or cheaply in season here. When we built our house, we put in three bare root vines of Concord Grapes. (Even though they aren't my favorite grape, they are the most successful in our growing area.) Last year we had half of this crop, but this year, we had six Wal-mart bags full of ripe grapes. We have only done jelly in the past, but when we did a triple batch and found that we already had 38 half-pint jars of grape jelly, we decided to try our hand a Grape juice.

Well, we never know how new recipes will work out, so we did two different kinds of juice. The one in the front on the left with the grapes showing is the Easy way - you literally put a cup of grapes in the quart jar, a half cup of sugar and fill the rest with boiling water! Then to drink, you strain out the seeds a grapes. The two on the right front are the other route, where we ran them through our press after cooking them down, added 1/2 cup sugar per quart and then canned. Both methods water boil the jars for 15 minutes. We ended up with 31 quarts of juice! What a savings it will be this winter to not have to buy juice for the kids. The only thing I fear is that there won't be enough for us all! My mom always canned the Easy Grape Juice and it was the most wonderful juice in the world!

Best of all, aside from pectin, sugar, and lids - this can be a very inexpensive way to stock-up! Our grapes were free!! It does take more in labor, so we just make a family event of it. (The kids can now take food preservation to the fair next year.)

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