Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Prized Possession: Grape Juice

I could see her as she stepped from her house,
her face questioning why I was there.

"I was told that you might have some grapes I could buy?"

God provides the little things.
I am not sure why it always surprises me that He does.

We have been on a slow journey toward trying to eat better.
I say slow because it takes time, money, and gaining knowledge
to eat better in a world where there is so much to be learned
about the intricacies of our bodies
and how everything works together.

And then, of course,
it isn't an easy thing to completely change instantly.

Ten years ago,
when I heard some of the many things I know now about eating in a more healthy way,
I had a really bad attitude about it.

Not that that is unusual or anything, 
as I'm sure my Farmer can attest.
I don't like change,
and I like sugar and easy foods.

But I know that anything worth doing
often takes effort and sacrifice.
So I have tried to alter the most dangerous things we eat
and work on the new knowledge I seem to constantly bump up against
as time and issues demand.

And so I went about asking God to help me find some natural grapes
so I could can some healthy juice for us.
Our grapes have not done well yet.
We get a few handfuls, but not nearly what we need to make juice.
I am a very poor grape vine trainer as I just can't seem to grasp the best way to prune them.
I hope someday to understand them.

I went to the Amish produce auction and asked if they ever had any grapes for sale
that hadn't been sprayed by harmful chemicals,
and the auctioneer directed me to this woman.

As I paid her, she seemed happy;
she told me she had processed six times the amount she had sold to me
and still had more to pick.
When I asked her how she had processed them,
she led me into her home and jotted down while she explained the recipe to me.

I came home happy to have the grapes,
and interested to see how well her recipe would turn out,
 a recipe taught to her, an older woman, by her mother-in-law.

So, here is how it is made:

After the grapes were sorted so that only the good ones were used,
I added water to the grapes before smashing,
as she specified,
and then smashed the grapes and added the sugar.

Having a food mill is essential for this recipe,
but I don't know how I would live without my mill anyhow
as I use it for applesauce, tomatoes, and grapes.

For the grapes, a shorter insert is used
because the seeds would jam it up.

It is done just as the tomatoes were done
except the grapes are fun through before being cooked.
Also, I ran the grapes through the mill two or three times,
until the pulp was too thick and was jamming the mill.

(Although, I found the ketchup was made thicker and less wasted by running it through the mill 2 or 3 times as well.)

After it was milled, the grape juice was heated to a good boil
and then put into sterilized jars with sterilized lids.

I found that they sealed on their own,
but processing would be wise if you are worried about them at all.

We have found this recipe to be the best so far:
less waste, and the juice is concentrated:
2 - 3 jars of water may be added to one jar of grape juice.

It proved to be a good savings to make the grape juice
as organic grape juice is pricey.

It is a step toward eating and drinking better quality food,
and I am thankful for the steps...

especially when they are as rewarding as this.

Linking Up To:

See my other recipes from the 31 days of recipes for the month of October.

Grape Juice Concentrate

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