Concord Grape Juice

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I feel like a mom.  At least in the sense that I haven’t had a hot meal (since I’m too busy photographing them) in about two and a half years.  (And yes, of course I understand that a mom’s life is so, so much more than that…you moms are incredible!)  Like any mom, I do it happily though, since it benefits my blog (which is like my child in a lot of ways). 

I don’t even mind taking pictures when I’m eating out…or walking around town.  But…well, sometimes I need a break from the camera.

Last weekend I went grape and apple picking with my family.  On one hand I really wanted to bring my camera (the thought of gorgeous shots of grape vines and apple trees silhouetted against a bright blue sky studded with puffy white clouds and golden-hued trees in the distance is enough to make any foodie’s heart flutter).  But on the other hand, for once I just wanted to enjoy an outing without photographing it.  In the end I decided to not even take my camera out the door with me…and I felt free as a bird!  Maybe next year.  :)

So about this grape juice, which is truly the nectar of the gods.  When we picked the Concords, they told us that peak season was two weeks prior, so the grapes were extremely ripe and sweet at that point.  The juice is literally just grape juice…no sugar or added preservatives, and straight off the vine the same day.  It’s deliciously rich and very thick, with an almost syrupy consistency.  In a word, amazing.

A glass of this stuff is the perfect way to start the day, since Concord grape juice is thought to have a multitude of health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer and improving cardiovascular function (by doing things like increasing the body’s level of HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure).  (If interested, you can read more about the health benefits of Concord grape juice here or here.)  That’s reason enough for me.  Bottoms up, my friends.

A Note About the Grape Juice:  The resulting grape juice is very thick and rich; you can dilute it with water if you like, but I prefer drinking a small quantity of undiluted juice.  Also, I used very sweet grapes and the juice didn’t need any sugar; if your grapes aren’t quite as sweet, add sugar to taste.

Concord Grape Juice (Adapted from Simply Recipes)

Yields about 5 to 6 cups 

4 lbs Concord grapes (weighed after you remove the stems)*

Put the grapes in a heavy-bottomed, lidded 5-quart pot and mash them with a potato masher.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn heat down slightly and simmer 10 minutes.

Turn heat off and cool to room temperature (this will take a couple hours).  Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined sieve fitted over a bowl to catch the liquid; gently wring the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible (wear food-safe gloves if possible, as grape juice will stain your hands and take a few days to wear off…and yes, I’m speaking from experience, lol!). 

Transfer to glass bottles and store in the fridge; shake before serving.

*Wash the grapes before you de-stem them, but weigh them after.

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  1. says

    Um…yeah. Me too. You get used to it though…I’ve really started to enjoy lukewarm food. :P

    Grape-picking?!?!? I’ve never heard of such a thing but it sounds awesome! I’ve been meaning to pick up some concord grapes from the farmer’s market. I think this is the week now that I have this juice recipe!

  2. says

    We used to pick them in northern Michigan when I was a kid. My mother used to make the most marvelous grape jelly. Don’t remember her ever making grape juice though. Super idea, Faith.

  3. says

    Good for you for taking a day off from the camera! I’ve never picked grapes before so am looking forward to seeing it next year! :) The pure grape juice sounds like it’d taste fabulous!

  4. says

    I know what you mean about needing a break from your camera! When you carry a lens around with you, somehow you’re always an outsider…unless the people you are with brings their cameras with you. :-)

    the pics here are GORGEOUS, Faith. It looks as intense and flavorful as wine.

  5. konnie says

    just a note, if you access to a large quanity of grapes – both purple,green, muscatel and the room
    you can freeze it too. i used 1/2 gal canning jars. filled them about 2/3s full. it was great thawing out a jar in february and tasting that summer fresh juice.

  6. Donna says

    My Grandmother used to make batches of homemade grape juice and can them in glass quart jars so that we had the juice year round. She always left some grapes in the bottom of the jar so you knew it was homemade. It was delicious.

  7. says

    Grape picking sounds fun! Your grape juice is so vibrant and rich looking – I know it has to be crazy delicious. I hope you blog about your caramel apple cake! Can’t wait to see it!

  8. says

    Wow, who knew grape juice could have such luscious viscosity and color? That stuff looks amazing. I remember swooning once over a Concord grape sorbet at a restaurant. I love how you just juice the grapes to enjoy its pure essence so simply.

  9. says

    Your description of the juice is captivating! I don’t even like grape juice but (waaaaaaaaaaaaaa) I want it! I’m sure most food bloggers understand your need for a break from the camera. So while you’re photographing your cold food, is Mike patiently waiting or do you let him eat his while you’re working? I don’t take too long (as you can tell) so Dennis sometimes Dennis waits, but if he’s hungry he’ll be half done eating by the time I sit down with him!

  10. says

    Even before my blogging days…the camera followed me everywhere. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to be appreciating nature’s beauty and not being capable of capturing it in an image.
    Well, Faith, we all seem to also have great imaginations…so there, all your great images were shared in our little culinary minds ;)
    Great for you to have put the camera away and enjoy the full moment of being with loved ones. I too, have done so many times and it proved to be somewhat liberating.

    Bottoms up…cheers to sharing your experience with making such a nutritional drink.

    Have a great weekend,

  11. says

    It sounds like you had a great time with your family and a good idea that you left your camera at home. This juice must taste amazing. I would never have thought to make my own grape juice but would love to try this healthy, homemade juice:)

  12. says

    my mom would make grape juice every year off the grapes that were in our back yard. The white grape juice was my favorite. When i was at my grandmas house she did it like yours, but didn’t drain it. She just put it in a jar until they were going to use it. looks cool in the jar with the floating grapes on top.

  13. says

    I love that you didn’t take your camera- definitely a necessary move sometimes! this juice looks so good- I usually don’t like grape juice but want a big glass of this!

  14. says

    So the secret of our often less-than-stellar photographs is out–we eat the meal while it’s hot. That’s rough on you, though I adore all your photographs and you’re very consistent.

    Your description of the visit to the apple and grape farm reminds me of why I love wine tasting in California so much. Getting out into the countryside is so wonderful.

    I have not made my own Concord grape juice before but I want to try now.

  15. says

    Wow, nice composition and perfect lighting on the photos. I would love to have glass of this grape juice every morning. I hope next year when I go back to US, I could go fruit picking one day.

  16. says

    I totally know what you mean about being able to sit down and enjoy HOT food and taking a break from your camera. Even though I don’t blog as much anymore, I still take pics for in case I want to blog about stuff. It’s great to take a break from your camera, isn’t it. Don’t get too used to it though, we would miss your posts :). Never knew there were so many health benefits in concord grapes. Thanks for sharing, Faith.

  17. Allie H says

    My mom used to make this when we were kids! We’d grab a bottle of club soda and mix half & half. So, so good.

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