Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm doing grape, how about you?

So- not nearly as many pictures were taken this weekend as I though would be.  But, that's ok. We'll live. 

I went over to my Grandma's house this weekend to put up some grape juice.  Turns out I am really bad at estimating weight.  I told Grandpa I had 15 pounds of grapes.  I actually had more like, 30.  Oops.  We ran out of lids after 24 jars of juice.  We decided to try freezing the leftover grapes.  We'll try cooking them down for jelly later on, after the wedding. 

So - on to the exciting stuff. 

Canning isn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  You hear all kinds of terrible stories about how intimidating it is.  So and so's great grandmother burned the house down while canning, or my husband's great aunt lost an eye when a jar exploded.  It sounds like canning is a full contact sport, when in reality, it's a lot of sitting around and waiting.  And moving slowly so you don't burn yourself or spill boiling water on the dog. 

For our juice recipe, the most difficult part is keeping the water boiling, and cleaning the grapes.  I did most of the grape cleaning - I stood over a sink and picked each grape from the stem and dropped it into the sink filled with cool water, swished them around and dumped them into a bowl.  The end. Just kidding.

We sterilized the jars in the diswasher, so that was easy.  Then we added grapes, sugar and boiling water to each jar.  We placed the lids on each jar and screwed on the ring. Then we put 8 jars into Great Grandma's canner, made sure they were covered in water, and processed them. 

When the timer went off, we carefully took each jar out and set them on the counter on a clean and dry towel, making sure they weren't touching each other.  We covered them with a dishtowel and let them cool.  As they were cooling, you would hear the occasional 'Pop!'  This was the lid sealing itself on the jar. 

I left them at Grandma's to cool, so I don't have any pictures of the finished product, yet.  I'll pick them up later this week and I can't wait to try it!  Our juice is very red, where Grandma's juice used to be kind of pinkish, mostly due to the grapes.

As I said, we're freezing the leftover grapes to make into jelly.  For jelly, you cook down the grapes, and strain it through cheescloth.  Then you add sugar, and gelatin to the juice you strain out.  I'll let you know how that goes, too.

So that's what my weekend was all about.  How about yours?  I think I've been bitten by the canning bug, now that I know it's not nearly as hard as I thought it was.  I'm officially adding a canner to my Christmas List.

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