Friday, October 4, 2013

How to make Grape Juice and Grape Leather

My steamer is VERY old.  The weird thing about being married a long time is that some of stuff starts to look old-  fancy that?!  I bought this juice steamer about 20+ years ago when I started canning.  I will tell you about that later.

Buy a box of organic grapes.  My cost- $13 for a box, which I thought was a good price.  Can't remember how much it weighed though.  Then dump them in the steamer, stems and all.  Easy-peasy.
Yes, this is out on my deck.  My grill has an extra burner.  This way my house isn't filled with steam and stuff.  Since it's been cold lately, you might want to do your canning inside for extra heat- haha.
Let this cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the grapes split open and it's all steamy inside the pot.
Now here comes the fun part!  Truly, it's liquid purple GOLD!
Grab a potato smasher or something to smash down the grapes to get the precious liquid  into your steamer.  Once you've done that, put a clean quart bottle that's been sitting in hot water under the little siphon-tube-thing.  Press the clamp to open it and out comes the GOOD STUFF.
I just started using Tattler Reusable Canning lids.  Love them!  But you can use regular metal lids.  After you've filled up enough jars, process in a water bath for 10 min.  That's it! I 'harvested' 10 jars of heaven.
Now hide this stuff and save it for the holidays!  We add 7UP to make it bubbly!  Makes me think of Christmas, oh yeah baby!

Above, you can see the juice with the Tattler lid. (Watch this video to see how to use a Tattler lid.) On the right is the grape juice pulp left over from the juice process.  I took all the stems out, which took less than 5 min.  I couldn't waste that good, healthy, anti-oxident grape goodness, so I decided to make fruit leather (lower left). This summer I've made pear, apple, strawberry, and blackberry leather and it disappeared in tummies around here.
My trusty Blendtec blended up the grapes perfectly, even the little seeds.  This pulp does have a grit to it because of the seeds- but don't people pay money for grape seed extract?  I'm getting the original, from the source, and for free- bonus!
Next, take your jelly roll pan, with either parchment paper or silpat mats.  Spread the pulp over the entire area so it's about 1/8 inch thick.  Put the oven on 180 degrees and "cook" for 8 hours.  Check at this point.  If it's a little 'doughy' in the middle give it another hour or so.  If you like your leather soft and supple, 8-9 hours works.  Mine turned out a little crunchy, at 10 hours in the oven.  Cut it into strips or squares and store in a ziploc or quart jar.  You might want to hide this if you want it to last.  Perfect for school lunches.
In health and harmony,

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