Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preserving: Grapes

Labor Day weekend is the best time to harvest concord grapes in the Hudson Valley. So we took a trip to our secret spot, where we found dozens of grape vines crawling up highbush blueberries, hawthornes and lilac bushes. The grapes were perfectly ripe (but oh-so-sour!), falling off of the vines into our hands and baskets. We ended up with 45 pounds of them after 2 hours of picking.

When we arrived home, we got started on preserving them. We made grape jelly, using grapes and sugar as the only ingredients. First, we washed the grapes and put about 1/3 cup of water for every 4 cups of grapes into several big pots. We heat them until they softened and could be strained through a colander to extract the juice and pulp from the seeds and skins. Ninety-six cups of fresh grapes resulted in 46 cups of grape juice/pulp for jelly-making. We made the jelly in four separate batches, adding about 3/4 cup of sugar for every cup of grape. We boiled the mixtures until they jelled (testing it on a cold plate) and ended up with seven 4oz jars, 35 8oz jars, and eight 16oz jars of jelly... I hope everyone likes a good ol' pb+j.

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