Canning Grape Juice

I always prepare grape juice for canning and jelly with a steam juicer. After 40 years of home canning I’ve tried every way known to woman to get grape juice. Some ways are fun. Like putting whole grapes and sugar in a jar and covering the grapes and sugar with boiling water. And some ways are a real pain in the backside. Like boiling mashed grapes and allowing them to filter through a sieve and a flannel so they can drip..drip..drip..overnight.




Trust me. I’ve put plenty of time in with all the different ways and methods of preparing grape juice. A steam juicer is by far the quickest and easiest way to extract juice from ripe Concord grapes, berries and other soft fruits.

Grape Juice

Pure Hot Grape Juice From a Steam Juicer

A stainless steel steam juicer is an expensive piece of kitchen equipment but is worth every penny.
I don’t own a microwave oven, food processor, electric coffee maker – but I do own a steam juicer.
I’ll never go back to the old way of making grape juice.
Never.

I have found that a full bushel of Concord grapes will yield approximately 18 – 20 quarts of grape juice when steam juiced.
It takes about an hour or so for all the juice to be extracted from every load of Concord grapes, and a bushel of grapes is about 4 full loads through a large steam juicer.

Grapes Ready To Steam Juice

Grapes Ready To Steam Juice

I have the best success and extract the most juice with a little trick that I employ.
I run the grapes until no more juice is dripping into the collection pan. I then empty the steam softened grapes into a large bowl and let the grape mess rest while I work on another load of grapes.
After I’ve steamed all the grapes, I take the waste grapes and place them back into the colander pan. I steam the entire bushel of waste grapes all at once (they will fit because the bulk has been reduced) for another 30 minutes or so.
The softened, waste grapes will usually yield another 1 ½ or 2 quarts of juice.
Once I’ve collected all the juice available from the grapes I sweeten the grape juice to taste with pure cane sugar before I bottle it up. I use 4 pounds of cane sugar to 18 quarts of juice. You may prefer more or less sweetening. The cane sugar readily dissolves in the hot juice and there’s never a worry about GMO corn syrup or GMO beet sugar.
Traditionally a boiling water bath canner is used to home can grape juice or apple juice.
Here’s how to do it:
Fill hot clean jars with hot juice allowing ¼” of head space. Wipe the rim of the jar and apply a lid that has been simmered and a band to the jar.

Filling Jars With Hot Grape Juice

Filling Jars With Hot Grape Juice

Place the jars into a gentle, but boiling water bath canner making sure the water covers at least 1”- 2” over the tops of the jars. By adding the filled jars, the water in the canner will stop boiling. Wait for the water to return to a gentle but steady boil and process according to the chart below.

Processing Time for Grape Juice in a Boiling Water Canner

Processing  Times at Altitudes of

Jar Size

Sea Level – 1,000 Ft.

1,001 – 6,000 Ft.

Above 6,000 Ft.

Pints or Quart Jars

5 minutes

10 minutes

15 minutes

Half-Gallon Jars

10 minutes

15 minutes

20 minutes

 

After the processing time is complete, remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool undisturbed and free from drafts for 8-12 hrs.
When the jars are cooled, remove the bands and check the seals. Wipe the jars clean, label and store in a cool dark location.
PRESSURE CANNING GRAPE JUICE
I pressure can grape juice even though there’s no food science tested or approved processing time for apple or grape juice in a pressure canner that I’m aware of.
Maybe it’s out there somewhere and I just haven’t seen it.
I live at 1250 ft. above sea level, and usually process my grape juice in a pressure canner at 5 lbs. of pressure for both pints or quarts for 5 or 6 minutes and allow for 1/2 inch of head space in the jar.
When it comes time to use the home canned grape juice, I mix it half and half with water and chill before serving.  Or sometimes for a treat I’ll mix it with club soda and serve it over ice. It’s like grape soda – but better.

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