It’s great to live next to friendly neighbors. Our neighbor has a beautiful and very old row of concord grapes which grow along the fence line. For several years now she has shared them with us. I learned to make grape juice from my mother-in-law many years ago. We loaded the old stovetop juicer with freshly rinsed bunches of grapes brought into the farm kitchen directly from the vines. They steamed in the top of the old juicer until their juice was released down into the bottom of the pot. As the juice accumulated a small hose near the bottom of the pot released the liquid directly into the awaiting jars. Just a teaspoon of lemon juice was added before each jar was capped and ringed for the water bath. I don’t have that old stovetop juicer with the little hose on the side. I make do with my large combination kettle and steamer basket.
Tip: If you mash the steamed grapes to get more juice out of them, it will release the pulp from the peel, but that will cloud the juice. The pulp will settle to the bottom while it is stored and you can strain it or leave it in when you use it. Without mashing the grapes, the resulting juice will be more transparent and clear. I’ve prepared it both ways.
Combine 1 quart of juice and 1 quart of water (use filtered if you have it.) Sweeten with about ¾ cup of white sugar to start. Add more to fit your tastes.
What makes this such a special gift? First the color- a beautiful rose, then the taste of something real. Real grapes; fresh, wholesome, tasting like you’re eating off the vines. I decorated my jars with beautiful canning labels and even fashioned my own decoration by twisting a grapevine around the lid of the jar and securing with a bit of wire.