Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recipe: Muscadine Grape Juice

Muscadine Grape Juice

I have written about muscadine grapes before (you can use the search function on the opening page of this blog to find a previous post).  Muscadines are a grape native to the United States.  They are not table grapes and, most notoriously, have been used to make a sweet, grapey wine.  Muscadines can be used in preserves, and I have made muscadine syrup for waffles and pancakes and muscadine sorbet.  Muscadines come into season in mid September and you can even forage for them.

The "problem" with muscadines is they produce abundant amounts of fruit.  I thought I would give making and canning my own grape juice a shot.  Here is how to do it:

Fill a large stainless steel stockpot 3/4ths full of washed muscadines, making sure all stems have been picked off.  Pour boiling water over the top . Cover, and boil gently, for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Here is the fun part.  If you want pulp juice, like you get with pulpy OJ, this is all you need to do regarding straining: pour the muscadines and liquid through a fine, mesh strainer or sieve that is set in a large bowl. Take a wooden spoon or potato masher and stir and gently press the grapes, until all you have left in the sieve are skins and seeds. Pour the pulpy juice back into the stockpot, sugar to taste (muscadines can be sour) and heat it up to 190 degrees and hold at the temp for 5 minutes.

Assuming you have already prepared your canning jars [go to http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx for COMPLETE directions,] ladle the juice into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe rim, center lid on jar, screw on ring.  Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.  Turn off the canner, remove lid. Wait 5 minutes to remove jars onto a folded towel.  Let cool overnight. The next morning, check the lids for a seal and store. Alternately, cool the juice and store in the fridge.

If you do not want pulp, there is a additional step after running the juice through the sieve: you need to strain the juice through a the sieve, now lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth for several hours.  Then proceed with the recipe.

Happy eating...er drinking!

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