Monday, September 8, 2008

Homemade Grape Juice

After receiving several pounds of grapes (muscat, I'm told) and getting a bag of grapes (Crimson) in our CSA box I decided to see if I could turn all this into grape juice instead of letting it go to waste. Since I don't have (yet!) one of the juicer steamer contraptions I decided to search the Internet and see what I could find. I put together the following steps:

Wash and de-stem the grapes. This was the most time-consuming task. It took about an hour to get all the grapes off their stem and into the colander.

Mash the grapes. The recipe I was following said to use a potato masher which I didn't have. So I just used my hand blender and pulsed it on the grapes in the pot.

Cook the grapes. I let the smashed grapes simmer over medium heat for around 15 minutes. As the grapes softened I continued to use the hand blender to mash the grapes more.

Prepare cheesecloth sieve. I lined the colander with two sheets of cheesecloth. I used a rubber band to keep it in place and set the lined colander over another pot.

Strain grape mixture. I ladled the grape mixture into the lined colander. I let it sit for a few hours and then threw it in the refrigerator overnight.

Finishing. I removed the grape mixture and cheesecloth and threw it in the compost pile. What was left was the juice. It was naturally quite sweet and didn't need anything else. The web sites talked about sending the juice through another strain to remove more sediment. I tried a gold coffee filter but the juice was actually too thick. I moved on to a paper coffee filter which worked better since I was able to squeeze the juice through (not unlike a frosting bag).

The juice was quite good on its own but was also improved with the addition of a local vodka.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Labor Day = homemade apple pie. I was given a bag of Granny Smith apples so I made apple pie.