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Homemade Grape Juice

Here's the procedure: pick grapes and remove from stem. An 18
gallon rubbermaid tub holds about 80 pounds of grapes still on the
stem, but the weight depends on how tightly you pack them in.
Stemming this quantity of grapes takes about 2 hours at first, but
some of our stemmers were doing a bit faster than that by the end
of the harvest.

After you have the grapes stemmed, rinse them off. We fill the
tun with water and scoop them out with a strainer or collander into
the crusher. The grape crusher is a key step. It squeezes the
grapes between two "rolling pins" and breaks the skins. You can
rent or buy one from most winemaking supply shops. You can cook
the grapes directly without crushing them, but your juice yield
will be reduced by 20-40%.

After you've got the grapes crushed, you put them on to cook in
big pots. Add a cup of water for every gallon of grapes. Bring
the mixture to a boil and simmer until you can't really identify
discrete grape pulps and until the seeds have fallen out. This
takes 30-50 minutes depending on the heat source and the amount of
crushed grapes in the pot.

Once the grapes are cooked to the proper stage, ladle them out into
an 8" wire screen strainer over a big, clean bucket ot pot. (You
can use a cheesecloth jelly bag, but it is much slower.) If you
really want pulp-free juice, do the initial straining in the screen
mesh and put the juice through a jelly-bag or coffee filter as an
additional step. It's much faster. I have 4-6 strainers filled
with grapes at once in full production mode.

After straining the juice, you can put 13 quarts of juice in a big
pot with 10 lbs of sugar and bring to a boil for a double batch of
14 quarts. A single batch (7 quarts) would be 6.5 quarts of juice
and 5 lbs of sugar. Once boiling, put the juice into the hot,
sterilized quart jars and BWB for 15-20 minutes.

This process yields a concentrated juice that's too strong for
direct consumption. We dilute each quart with two quarts of water
for drinking.

If you have a food mill, the pulp can be separated from the seeds
and skins after the juice is drained to make grape butter or fruit

80 lbs of grapes (18 gallon bin before stemming) yields roughly:

30 quarts of juice concentrate
3 gallons strained pulp from food mill
3 gallons seeds and skins mixture (livestock love this stuff)


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