Homemade Concord Grape Juice – No Added Sugar

Homemade Concord Grape Juice | Grow a Good Life
Please share...Pin on Pinterest6.7kShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+15Share on StumbleUpon51Share on Yummly0

When we purchased our home, I was thrilled to discover grape vines growing along the edge of the property.

The vines were extremely overgrown and extended themselves up into the pine trees. I could see fruit hanging from the top branches, but there was no way to reach it. I searched the foliage at the bottom and found a few small clumps of grapes, and identified the variety as Concord Grapes.

Concord Grapes are a hearty grape variety developed from native New England grape species by Ephraim Wales Bull in 1849 at his farm in Concord, Massachusetts. This grape variety was perfected to thrive and grow in the cold climate of New England. Concord Grapes are commonly used to make grape juice, grape jelly, and flavor candy and soft drinks.

Concord Grapes are filled with antioxidants, flavonoids, and nutrients, including potassium, vitamin K, and manganese. Studies show that grape juice made from Concord grapes may help boost immunity, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and aid in slowing the development of age-related cognitive decline.

How to Make Your Own Concord Grape Juice | Grow a Good Life

 

I learned from the neighbors that the original owner and builder of our home planted the grape vines, along with other fruit trees and bushes on the property. They are estimated to be 35-40 years old. The vines were neglected for at least 15 years before we purchased the property.

Luckily, Kevin knew how to care for the overgrown grape vines because his family had Concord grape vines when he was a child. Over a two-year period, Kevin worked through the tangles and gave the vines an all over heavy pruning to get them back into shape. The long vines needed to be unraveled and pulled from the trees limbs above.

Fruit is born on the previous year’s growth, so we had to wait patiently a few years to see the results. Our first harvest yielded about 8 pounds of Concord Grapes that were made into jelly. Most of which was given away to friends and family.

We look forward to the Concord Grape harvest each year and use it to make juice, jelly, and wine. Concord grapes are taste tested before picking to be sure they are at the peak sweetness and are usually ready in September-October.

Homemade Concord Grape Juice | Grow a Good Life

When making juice or jelly, I normally split the process over a few days to allow extra time for the juice to strain and the sediment to settle completely. Here is how I extract the concord grape juice and can it to drink or to be made into jelly later:

Homemade Concord Grape Juice

Homemade Concord Grape Juice | Grow a Good LifeIngredients:
26 Pounds of Concord Grapes, washed and stemmed
1 cup water

Equipment:
Water Bath Canner
Large Saucepan
Small Pot of Water Over Low Heat
7 Quart Jars
Lids and Bands
Magnetic Lid Lifter
Jar Lifter
Potato Masher
Canning Ladle
Canning Funnel
Kitchen Towels

Procedure:

1. Extract the grape juice by combining grapes and water in a saucepan over low heat. Heat and simmer slowly until skins are soft, and the juices are released. Gently mash the grapes with a potato masher and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Strain through a damp jelly bag or double layers of cheesecloth. Discard solids. Refrigerate grape juice for 24 to 48 hours to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom. This will help eliminate crystals in your juice.

3. When you are ready to can your grape juice, prepare your jars and lids by washing in warm, soapy water and rinsing thoroughly. Place jar rack into water bath canner, set jars in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize. Warm lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until ready to use. *

4. Carefully remove the grape juice from the refrigerator without disturbing the sediment. Gently pour off clear liquid and discard sediment. Strain through a paper coffee filter if a clearer juice is desired. Add grape juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

5. Spread kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove warm jars from canner, drain, and line up on the towel. Use your canning ladle and funnel and add grape juice to warm jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims. Use your magnetic lid lifter to lift lids out of the warm water, center lid on the jar, and screw on band until it is fingertip tight.

6. Using jar lifter, place jars carefully into canner leaving space in between them. Once jars are all in canner, adjust the water level so it is at least one inch above the jar tops. Add more boiling water if needed so the water level is at least one inch above the jar tops. When adding water, use the hot water from the small pot your lids were in. Pour the water around the jars and not directly onto them.

7. Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, continue boiling grape juice for 5 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. (adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary).

8. When processing time is complete, turn off heat and allow to settle for about 10 minutes. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter; remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face. Use a jar lifter to lift jars carefully from canner and place on the towel. Allow the jars to cool for 12 to 24-hours. You should hear the satisfactory “ping” of the jar lids sealing.

9. After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within a few days.

10. Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label and date the jars. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and use within 12 months. Yields 7 Quart Jars.

Homemade Concord Grape Juice - No Added Sugar
 
Author:
Recipe type: Canning
Serves: 7 Quarts
Ingredients
  • 26 Pounds of Concord Grapes, washed and stemmed
  • 1 cup water
Equipment:
  • Water Bath Canner
  • Large Saucepan
  • Small Pot of Water Over Low Heat
  • 7 Quart Jars
  • Lids and Bands
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Lifter
  • Potato Masher
  • Canning Ladle
  • Canning Funnel
  • Kitchen Towels
Instructions
  1. Extract the grape juice by combining grapes and water in a saucepan over low heat. Heat and simmer slowly until skins are soft, and the juices are released. Gently mash the grapes with a potato masher and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Strain through a damp jelly bag or double layers of cheesecloth. Discard solids. Refrigerate grape juice for 24 to 48 hours to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom. This will help eliminate crystals in your juice.
  3. When you are ready to can your grape juice, prepare your jars and lids by washing in warm, soapy water and rinsing thoroughly. Place jar rack into water bath canner, set jars in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize. Warm lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until ready to use. *
  4. Carefully remove the grape juice from the refrigerator without disturbing the sediment. Gently pour off clear liquid and discard sediment. Strain through a paper coffee filter if a clearer juice is desired. Add grape juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Spread kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove warm jars from canner, drain, and line up on the towel. Use your canning ladle and funnel and add grape juice to warm jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims. Use your magnetic lid lifter to lift lids out of the warm water, center lid on the jar, and screw on band until it is fingertip tight.
  6. Using jar lifter, place jars carefully into canner leaving space in between them. Once jars are all in canner, adjust the water level so it is at least one inch above the jar tops. Add more boiling water if needed so the water level is at least one inch above the jar tops. When adding water, use the hot water from the small pot your lids were in. Pour the water around the jars and not directly onto them.
  7. Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, continue boiling grape juice for 5 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. (adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary).
  8. When processing time is complete, turn off heat and allow to settle for about 10 minutes. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter; remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face. Use a jar lifter to lift jars carefully from canner and place on the towel. Allow the jars to cool for 12 to 24-hours. You should hear the satisfactory “ping” of the jar lids sealing.
  9. After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within a few days.
  10. Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label and date the jars. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and use within 12 months. Yields 7 Quart Jars.

 

*Note: Recently, Jarden Home Brands, the company that produces Ball and Kerr canning jars and lids announced that pre-sterilizing jars and heating lids is no longer necessary when using their brand if you are processing jars in your canner for 10 minutes or more. It doesn’t hurt, so I choose to continue doing so.

Additional Tips:

Resources and Further Reading:

Never miss a post. Sign up for the free Grow a Good Life Newsletter and we'll send you an email with all the new articles posted on the website:

Please share...Pin on Pinterest6.7kShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+15Share on StumbleUpon51Share on Yummly0

19 thoughts on “Homemade Concord Grape Juice – No Added Sugar

  1. daphnegould

    I love concord grape juice. I used to have a vine at my last house, but I hated processing it so much (too many spiders lived in those grapes) that I quit. BTW I tried not heating the lids one time during canning after the recommendation changed. Half the lids didn’t seal. So now I heat them again, but I just put them in a bowl and pour hot water over them about a minute before use. And I still heat my jars because I think they are less likely to break when the boiling jam/juice/whatever gets poured into them.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Post author

      Daphne, I am lucky that I don’t have spiders in my vines (shutter). I don’t know why Jarden changed the rules. I still think that warming the lids helps the seal and placing hot foods into a cold jar could cause the glass to shatter. I will continue to heat my lids and boil my jars. It certainly can’t hurt.

      Reply
      1. Margaret

        Our version of Ball in Canada is Bernardin canning jars. Their recent method changes only involve the actual jar sterilization. Their new recommendation still involves heating both the jars and the lids – jars are placed in a pot with just barely simmering water & lids in heated in hot (but not boiling) water. To me, these recommendations make much more sense than not heating either the jar or the lid for the very reasons you just stated.

        Reply
  2. Marla

    Your article brings back memories of my childhood. I grew up with my Mom making homemade grape jelly and jam from Concord grapes vines that grew on our farm. We loved to eat the grapes right off the vine too. Thanks for sharing the health benefits and linking up to Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Post author

      Marla, Thanks for sharing warm memories of you mother making jelly and jam from the vines on your farm. We love grabbing a few grapes and eating fresh from the vine too.

      Reply
  3. Jendi

    How great is that to have the old grapevines that are still producing wonderfully! Well – after your patience in trimming, etc. My mom makes grape juice by canning the grapes in the jar and then straining when they want to drink the juice. Either way – it is very good!

    Reply
    1. Rachel Post author

      Jendi, The Concord grape vines are really easy to care for. We just have to trim them back every other year and they keep on going. They are amazing.

      Reply
    2. Rachel Post author

      Jendi, I read about the same method of making grape juice. I want to give it a try next year because it seems to be a lot less work 🙂

      Reply
  4. flipflopbarnyard

    Yum! Concord grapes are my favorite! I want to grow them one of these days. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you there again this week. 🙂

    Reply
  5. JES

    What a blessing to have Concord grapes on your property! Thank you for sharing this recipe on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! It looks delicious 🙂

    Reply
  6. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

    yum! We do a similar thing with the wild Mustang grapes that grow where we live. BUT, they need sugar. It’s wonderful that your husband worked so hard on getting the vines healthy again. Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

    Reply
  7. Sandra

    Thank you for sharing your post at the HomeAcre hop!
    I love grape juice! I remember my mom making it. We planted a few grape plants, but they didn’t thrive.

    Reply

Thank you so much for your comments. I love hearing from you!