With an over abundance of grapes this year we decided to can some grape juice. We have three separate vines. Only one vine has ripe grapes at this time. I am assuming the other two will be ripe by the beginning of October. I have been doing one to two batches a day. Whatever a five gallon bucket will produce.
We fill the bucket to the top. After sorting good from bad what is left is the batch of juice for the day.
Our grapes are organic we do not use chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They have plenty of crawling insects that need separated from them. After trial and error I came up with a simple method for debugging the grapes with little effort. I fill the bucket with a garden hose. Most of the creepy crawlies are happy to leave at this point. I let the bucket of grapes sit for about an hour and any insects that decided to hang around are drowned. If I am not mistaken the grapes you see here are the Perlette variety.
While the grapes are soaking outside I usually prepare my canning equipment. Any utensils I am using for the canning process I wash with hot soapy water, rinse and sterilize in boiling water. This includes jars, rings, tongs, mixing spoons, measuring cups, and ladle. I was told a few years back that the sanitizing cycle on a dishwasher was good for this process. I don't use a dishwasher but if I did I would make sure no soap residue was left on the utensils and jars.
Now I separate the good grapes and the left over stems, leaves and bad grapes are added to the compost pile. With the utensils sterilized and the jars simmering in boiling water I wash the grapes one last time. I then place them in a pan and add water. Just enough water to cover the grapes. Let them simmer mixing and mashing as it boils. I use a potato masher to mix and mash. Skim the scum off as it rises to the top.
Now I strain the juice through a calender lined with cheese cloth that is set into a bowl to catch the juice.
Left over dry grape skins, pulp and seeds. Ready for the compost pile.
I squeeze as much juice out as possible. Here you can strain the juice again. Then continue processing or set in a refrigerator over night so that the sediment in the juice settles to the bottom. That would result in a much clearer juice. I just continue on we do not mind the pulp in our juice and it does not need to be clear.
I then boil the juice again adding sugar or sweetener if needed. Then ladle into hot jars. Add lids and rings then process again in a boiling water canning pot.
To find the proper processing times for canning grape juice I used this website "National Center for Home Food Preservation."
If you are canning be very careful follow proper sterilization and preserving methods. Processing times very by altitude and food acidity.