I see I need to educate you all about the equipment that I use to make grape juice —
And I will grant you that it does look like a “bootlegger’s still” and, in fact, the recipe book came with many recipes for “home brew.” Anyone who knows me very well at all, though, knows that alcohol in any of its ingestible forms is an abomination to my very soul. (There has been too much heartbreak in the world in general and in the lives of some of the children I have loved for me to be neutral about this. Do not argue with me. You will not win.)
But for the sake of the interested, curious and just plain nosey — allow me to take you through a tour of these kettles and what they do for me. (And I do lend them out, should anyone decide to try them!)
This is the view of three sides of the box the kettle came in. Like I said, I have two kettles, and when I am doing juice, I keep them both running as hard as they can go. I purchased my steamers at Byler’s Store in Dover. They are not cheap, but one of my boxes has a price tag on it that says $79.00. I don’t think I saw them that cheap before or since. Usually they run at least $100.00.
The first step is to fill the bottom kettle to the fill line with water and get it started on the stove.
It needs to come to a rolling boil.
While the water is getting hot, I wash the grapes and weigh them I need about six pounds per kettle.
This is the juice reservoir
It sits on top of the boiling water pan. The rubber tube hooks up to the handle while the juice is steaming.
Once the water is boiling rapidly, I put the top steamer container holding the six pounds of grapes on top of the reservoir. For years, I picked every single grape off the stems, but the book says it isn’t necessary, so I have stopped doing that, and don’t see any decline in quality. (And it saves incredible time and energy!)
You saw this picture before, but these are the two kettles, cooking away. My Sweet Mama said that they looked like they were copper on my last post. I guess they do, but they aren’t. They are heavy weight stainless steel. The light in my kitchen just makes them look copper. The six pounds cook about an hour and fifteen minutes. The first 15 are at a hard rolling boil, then I turn the temperature back to medium for another hour.
Each kettle makes about three quarts of juice when there are six quarts of grapes in the steamer. So I am able to fill six empty jars with hot water and put them into my microwave which is over the stove and make them very hot there until I am ready to empty the steamer.
It looks like I am caramelizing my Kerr canning lids, but again, it is just the light. I put six flat lids into a small pan on my stove and bring them to a boil.
About now is when I don a pair of latex gloves. I have learned that a pair of latex gloves saves a woman many a burn on canning day. Plus, it makes it possible to handle hot jars with a great deal of ease.
I have a stool that is exactly the right size for this job. I strip a kitchen size trash bag over it to save on cleaning it up afterwards, and scoot it close to my stove. When the steaming is done, I take a hot jar, set it on the stool, and take down the rubber tubing and unclamp the clamp, letting the boiling juice into the jar up to the neck. Working as fast as I can, I put a hot lid on the jar, screw a band on it. Shake it gently, and loosen the band enough to”burp” the jar and then tighten it down again, and set it on the cupboard in a row. Usually it will seal immediately, but at least within two minutes. Those of you who do home canning know that there are few sounds as sweet as the PING! of a canning lid!
Last night, when I finished my last steamer of grapes, I had 69 quarts of concentrate.
Was I glad to see then end of those grapes.
And now it is time to think about apple pie filling.
11 responses to “”
You busy gal! How many bushels of grapes did this amount take?
Thank you for lesson! This eliminates much of the mess doesn’t it. Me thinks your steamers were a very good investment. I shall share this with Wife Of Boy Genius.
That “ping” is indeed music to your ears just as rows of jars filled with juice is a feast for the eyes!
Been there, done that! That’s the same way I extract juice from the grapes I get each year. I usually have to borow my sister’s steamer but may just invest in one myself some day.
That was cool! Thanks for sharing that!Seriously I want to do stuff like this someday. Passing on the knowledge is so good.Kudos!!!
thanks for the glimps into the process! I always wondered how it was done with a steamer, it makes me want to do my grapes that way now!
wow that is so interesting!! I can imagine if you had that contraption sitting outside on a propane burner though someone would think you were going into the moonshine business!!
Thanks for the lesson! I am fascinated by the process and admire you so much for all you do from scratch including those beautiful loaves of bread on you recent post. But I still worry about that foo!
Oops! I missed typing a “t” on that “foo”. I certainly didn’t want you to think I meant “fool”, “food” or any other word!
That is the only way to make grape juice!
You have quite the setup!!! Great post!!!Miriam
That was interesting! I wondered how steamers work. I can see why you have two. How long did it take you to can all those 69 qt? I still do it the “old fashioned” ??way. Is it old fashioned- with a cone strainer? I do about a bushel (20 qt) in a day.