Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grape Juice 101!

When I moved to this area 11 years ago, my neighbor taught me how to make grape juice from the local wild grapes. We have an abundance of them draped through the trees. Although they are a favorite of the deer and the birds, there is more than enough to go around.

Making grape juice isn't at all hard. The hardest part is climbing the ladder in the heat to collect the grapes. Once that is done, the rest is a piece of cake!

To make homemade grape juice, follow these easy steps!

1. Gather two large and one small pot, a cup and a half cup measuring cups, a bag of sugar, a canning rack or cup towel (this keeps the jars from bouncing on the bottom of the pan and breaking), quart jars, new lids, screw-on rings for the lids, a jar lifter, and tongs.

2. Sterilize the jars by filling them with water and placing them on a cup towel (or canning rack) in a big pot of water. They need to be completely submerged. At the same time set another large pot of water on and heat to a boil. Put some water in the small pot and submerge the lids to soften the rubber. They do not need to boil. While all of this heating is going on, wash and stem the grapes.

3. Use the jar lifter to carefully pour the water from the jars and set them on a towel on your counter. Fill each jar with 1 cup of stemmed grapes, 1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (I prefer 1/2 cup), and fill them to 1/2 inch from the top with the hot water that was in the second pan. Use the tongs to take a lid from the small pot. Put the lid on top and screw the ring over it until it is just snug but not too tight.
(You can be sterilizing a second batch of jars while you are filling these jars!)

4. After that batch of jars is filled, remove some of the water from the original pan with the towel in the bottom. Submerge the filled jars in the hot water and return them to the stove for a 15 minute water bath (bring the water back to a boil, lower the heat to a slow boil). At the end of 15 minutes, remove the filled jars from the water bath with the jar lifter, setting them on the towel that is on the counter top. As they cool they will begin to seal with a "pop". When they have sealed you can tighten the rings if you want.

5. After the jars are cool, place them in a cool, dry place to store for at least a month. If any jar does not seal, place it in the refrigerator after it cools. You can drink it after a few days, but it will taste weaker than the stored jars.

6. To serve, strain the juice. I strain mine directly over a glass of ice!! It is a beautiful pink-purple color and the best grape juice I've ever tasted!

Wild Texas Grapes

Grapes hang in bunches under the leaves.

Gather bunches of grapes using snippers.

Rinse and drain the grapes.

Pull the grapes off their stems. (If you have sensitive skin you may want to used latex gloves!)

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Put the lids in a smaller pot to heat.

Put a cup towel or canning rack in the bottom of your largest pan to use when you sterilize
 the jars and process the juice in a water bath.

Fill and submerge the jars. Bring the water to a boil to sterilize them.

Several pans of water heating on the stove.

Use the jar lifter to remove and empty the jars. Set them on a cup towel to fill.

Put grapes and sugar in each jar. Fill to within 1/2 inch from the top with near-boiling water.
Put the filled jars in the large pan and process in a water bath.

Clean up is so easy!

As the jars sit on the shelf the grape juice will evenly mix.


  1. I love grape juice! I'll have to try this some time. Great pictures.

  2. Once you get everything organized it is really easy. Clean-up is a sinch!

  3. Miss country, but ahhh so simple & rewarding.