My husband checked underneath the grape leaves. He discovered the grapes were ready for harvesting. He picked over half of them. The rest will be ready later. He stored them in an old peach crate till I could process them.
We have the concord variety of grapes. This type of grape has enough pectin in it to be good for jelly-making. It also makes delicious juice.
Today is my grape day. I immersed them in water for cleaning. I picked the good grapes off of their stalks. Moldy grapes get discarded. Some appeared to have a worm hidden inside. (If a worm is hidden inside one spot of the grape remains hard and green while the rest gets ripe and darkened.) Those grapes are not welcome in my juice either.
I put the cleaned grapes in my 8-quart stainless steel kettle. Covering the grapes with water readies them for extracting the juice. I heat the grapes and water to steaming. I watch so that the pot does not boil. Boiling will destroy any vitamin C in the juice. I mash the grapes occasionally with my potato masher as they get soft to get more color and flavor out of the grape and into the juice.
When the cooking is complete, I strain the juice in a jelly bag or strainer. The solids and seeds are discarded. (The chickens wholeheartedly approve.)
If I have the time to can the juice right away, I do. I process the juice with 1/2 cup sugar to each quart. If I cannot process them right away, I refrigerate the juice for processing the next day. If I want to make jelly from the juice at a later date, I can the juice without sugar. That way I can follow the jelly recipe and add the sugar at that time.
One should not delay the processing long, lest it ferment. Juice that is not sugared will get hard more quickly than the sugared kind if it is not sealed. Doing it sooner is more to my liking.
Grape juice is a delicious part of our winter rations. I recommend it.