Some interesting facts:
Did you know that 88 pounds of grapes
- takes about 1 1/2 hours for two people to pick?
- fills up 10 shopping bags?
- cost $44.00? and $30 for lids?
- yields 220 quarts of juice?
- takes about 15 hours to bottle and process?
- causes a person canning to take 7976 steps (on my pedometer)?
- used up all the rest of my jars?
- wreaks havoc on my house for a couple of days?
For the last few weeks, I had been calling all over Utah to various orchards to see if anyone had or knew of a vineyard with concord grapes for sale. Everyone answered in the negative except one. She said her son had a vineyard and gave me their number. I didn't hear from them and had given up. I felt terribly sad. My sweet son in Denver told me they would can some grape juice for me. I was somewhat heartened, but still sad I couldn't do it myself. Then the phone rang. The woman in Sandy was returning my call and said they did have a tiny vineyard and we were welcome to come pick.
It was very tiny. I figured we wouldn't get much, but ever the optimists, we brought along plenty of bags. We set about picking and began to fill many bags of grapes. After an hour an a half we had pretty much exhausted the ones we could find. I am sure there were more, but we had a blessing for our grand daughter to attend, so we picked everything up and headed to the scales. The farmer was very kind and gave us a discount, so we only ended up spending 50 cents a pound. We got a bag of white grapes and the rest concord grapes.
I have been bottling fruit as long as I have been married. We are celebrating our 35th next summer. I have tried many ways to bottle grapes including steaming, but the way I do it now makes such delicious grape juice.
The way I process grapes is something I learned long ago:
Put a cup of washed, stemmed grapes into a quart jar.
*optional add 1/4 cup sugar (I didn't this time)
fill to within 1/2 inch with warm tap water.
Process in hot water bath for 20 minutes.
cool, label, date and place jars in box and transport to cellar.
As I write this, the last seven jars are still processing and about 160 jars are still upstairs either boxed and waiting by the steps or sitting on the counter or floor.
I used up every jar I had except for about a dozen. I really didn't know how many I needed or if I would need to buy more. I washed every jar I had in the cellar, even the old mayonnaise jars.
I even used some really old jars. I have no idea where these came from, they are half gallon jars. Some have wide mouth lids, some narrow mouth lids. The white grape juice, in the picture, is a regular narrow mouth quart to give you perspective. Two of the large jars broke yesterday. I was a little afraid to try them today, but I came up with a brilliant idea. I first filled them with water, put old lids on and processed them for 20 minutes. When none had broken, I spilled about a cup of hot water out and replaced the spilled water with two cups of grapes and got them right back into the hot water bath. I didn't lose any of the large jars today. Only one quart broke today and one didn't seal. Not too bad of a loss for that many canned, eh?
That is OK. We will have a toast tonight with our newly made grape juice at dinner.
Today a neighbor came back from Idaho with 50 pounds of russet potatoes for $11.00. I think we will have a potato bar for dinner.
Then I have a date with my sweetie who is taking me to the movies tonight. Can we all sing Mamma Mia? We saw this on Broadway when I went to Carnegie Hall in NY several years back, so we know we love it.
I hope you all have a nice night.