My fingers are purple, jeans dirty, t-shirt stained as I finish making grape juice from wild grapes and I couldn’t be happier. Wild grapes are a little tart but a neighbor let me gather some of his cultivated varieties which put a bit of sweetness into the mix.
I discovered grape juice making by accident. To those of you who are experienced canners/preservers this may be trivial. However I have not made jams in a long while so this was a delicious discovery.
I dutifully followed Sure Gel grape jelly recipe which means grapes need to be washed, simmered and mashed ( see recipe at the end of this post) to separate out the skins and seeds. I measured the amount needed for jelly recipe and realized I had a cup left over. Sure Gel advises us to make sure liquid and sugars are in right amounts in order to guarantee success. I placed grapes in a pot, simmered for ten minutes while stirring continuously. Then, I placed grape mash into a strainer to get the seeds to fall out and what was left of any skins out of the mix. The result was a bright wine red juice. The specified amount of juice was returned to the pot to finish the jelly recipe.
As I mentioned above, I had too much liquid for the jelly recipe and placed the rest in a mason jar and let it cool. Once jelly jars were filled, water bathed to seal the jars, I could clean up. The cooling jar of grape juice caught my attention. I decided to try some and it was delicious. No sugar is added at the point the juice is made and I found it pleasantly tartly sweet.
The red/purple color means grapes are loaded with antioxidants. World Healthiest Foods says:
…“research is resveratrol (a stilbene phytonutrient present mostly in grape skins, but also in grape seeds and grape flesh). Resveratrol has recently been shown to increase expression of three genes all related to longevity. (These three genes are SirT1s, Fox0s, and PBEFs.) Interestingly, some researchers have shown a parallel between activation of these longevity genes by resveratrol and activation by calorie-restricted diets. In aging and longevity research, our ability to get optimal nutrition for the fewest possible amount of calories is related to our longevity, and the more we can decrease our calories while staying optimally nourished, the better our chances of healthy aging and longevity.” ( from whfoods.org)
Grapes are a power house of nutrients and their particular antioxidant profile is proving to be helpful in the following research applications:
- Cancer prevention
- Cardiovascular disease: contains quercetin which helps reduce inflammation and that includes cardio vascular inflammation
- Constipation: due to high water content and fiber
- Allergies: quercetin can help mitigate allergy symptoms
- Diabetes: consuming certain whole fruits like grapes can help prevent diabetes
1. 7 cups of wild grapes washed
2. Place in pot and add 2 cups water
3. Simmer for ten minutes while stirring and mashing to release skins and seeds from pulp
4. Place in strainer and stir mash to extract juice. Pulp can be added to compost pile. Let cool before drinking.
This juice has no added sugar. It’s a thicker consistency than anything found in the supermarket. Rich flavor, loaded with nutrients can be added to other high antioxidant juices for a power house drink. I add it to tart black cherry juice, pomegranate juice, about 1/3 cup of each. And the best part is you can freeze this juice in a wide mouthed mason jar as long as you leave at least one inch of space before putting on lid and putting the jar in the freezer. When needed, let jar stand in refrigerator till it thaws, open and enjoy a nutritious drink made from nature’s bounty.
Wild grapes easily make a great tasting juice that you can drink as is or dilute to suit your taste. Enjoy.