Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvesting grapes and making juice

Some grapes are very difficult and require a lot of chemical applications in order to have a decent crop. If that is what you want and you don't mind dumping lots of chemicals on your plants, you can probably grow almost any kind of grape you want. My grapes are not beautiful, but they do not have any chemicals on them.

This was our first year of good grape production. Here they are in early summer.

I have several varieties of grapes. I am certain that I have Concords (and they are a good variety for beginners) and I have others that I have taken as cuttings from friends and farmers that are great producers as well.

Our first year of really plentiful grape production. I think the vines are about 4 years old (summer 2010).

In about a half hour we have a lot of fruit. In the field we use clippers to cut clusters off. We will later remove the stems and bad fruit.

Inside, under the sink, I remove the stems and any bad fruit. Bad fruit usually floats to the top and can be easily skimmed off to discard. The remaining fruit is used to make juice.

A big metal pot is used to cook the grapes. I place the clean grapes in the pot and add enough water to cover the fruit. I then boil them, reduce to a simmer, and mash them for about 15 minutes after boiling. Some people like to use a juicer to chop up the grapes prior to boiling. This helps, but is not necessary.

The mash is filtered through a strainer to make the juice. Some people like to filter the juice through cheese cloth, which removes all large particles and most of the color. We just refrigerate the juice and drink it fresh for several days. If you want to make wine or can the juice, follow the links below.

Upon completion, there is mash left over.
We filter this many times before discarding the mash.

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