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Learn how to make grape juice the easy way! Homemade Concord grape juice is a delicious, antioxidant-rich beverage that has a deep purple color and unique robust, fruity sweet grape flavor.

how to make homemade grape juice

Sometimes I feel like a mom and my blog is my baby, lol.

At least in the sense that I haven’t had a hot meal in about two and a half years. (The camera eats first!)

I voluntarily spend most of my free time with it.

And frequently, it’s a job that takes years to see the fruit of your labor!

(And yes, of course I understand that a mom’s life is so, so much more than that; you moms are incredible!)

I don’t even mind taking pictures when I’m eating out or walking around town. But sometimes I just 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 I’ll get some vineyard and orchard shots next year.

Update October 2018: I went back to the same vineyard and orchard and took a couple photos with my phone. Back when I first shared this post in October 2011, I didn’t have a phone with a good camera!

hand holding cluster of concord grapes in grape field
grape leaves on vines in october in western new york
By mid-October in Western New York, grape season is already past peak and the grape leaves on the vines are turning beautiful shades of burnt orange, golden orange, and mahogony.

What to make with more Concord grapes than you can eat? Juice, of course!

What Are Concord Grapes?

This type of grape hails from Concord, Massachusetts, where Ephraim Wales Bull developed it in 1849.

The Concord grape is derived from the grape species Vitis labrusca. They’re frequently used as table grapes (aka eaten out of hand), juice grapes, and wine grapes.

Concords have a deep blue-ish purple colored skin that slips off the pulp, which is why they’re known as slip-skins. The inside of Concord grapes is light green in color with a squishy, slimy, gelatinous texture. This type of grape also has seeds, which are edible.

And as for taste, if you’re used to regular red grapes, get ready to have your mind blown because Concords are something else altogether! Their flavor is sweet and rich with a slight tanginess. Additionally, some people describe it as slightly musky.

To me, Concord grapes taste like highly concentrated, super robust natural grape flavor.

You can read more about Concord grapes on Wikipedia.

How to Make Homemade Grape Juice with Concord Grapes

So about this grape juice, which is truly the nectar of the gods.

When we picked the Concord grapes, they told us that peak season was two weeks prior, so the grapes were extremely ripe and sweet at that point (which is actually good because grapes don’t ripen off the vine).

It really doesn’t get any better than fresh Concord grapes picked off the vine and made into juice the same day!

Ingredients

The juice is literally just grapes – no added sugar, color, or preservatives – straight off the vine, picked the same day. (Don’t be tempted to add sugar, you don’t need it when making Concord grape juice with vine-ripened grapes!)

Homemade Concord grape juice is deliciously rich and very thick, with an almost syrupy consistency. In a word, amazing.

Instructions

  1. Put the grapes in a heavy-bottomed, lidded 5-quart pot and mash them with a potato masher. Cover the pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, and then turn heat down slightly and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature (this will take a couple hours).
  3. 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!).
  4. Transfer the juice to glass bottles or jars, and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  5. Shake before serving.
close up front view of glass of 100 grape juice

Tips for Making Homemade Concord Grape Juice

  • Wash the grapes before you de-stem them, but weigh them after. Plan on using 1 pound of Concords for every 1 cup of juice.
  • When you wring the cheesecloth, wear food-safe gloves because Concord grape juice will stain your hands.
  • Don’t be tempted to add sugar unless your grapes are really tart. If they’re picked ripe, Concord grapes are sweet enough and you don’t want to mask their wonderful unique flavor with added sugar.
  • Homemade Concord grape juice is really thick with an almost syrupy texture. You can serve it on ice or diluted with water, and you’ll not only stretch the juice but reduce the sugar a bit.

Health Benefits of Concord Grapes

A glass of this stuff can be a great way to start the day!

Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, Concord grape juice is thought to have a multitude of health benefits, such as:

  • Reducing the risk of cancer by fighting free radicals
  • Improving cardiovascular function and supporting heart health
  • Supporting a healthy immune system
  • Possibly promoting cognitive health

You can read more about the health benefits of Concord grapes on Nourish by WebMD, US News & World Report, and Observer.

That’s reason enough for me. Bottoms up, friends.

concord grape juice in glasses and jug

Concord Grape Juice FAQs

Do Concord Grapes Continue to Ripen After Picking?

Unfortunately, no. Concord grapes don’t ripen any more after they’re removed from the vine. Because of this, make sure they’re ripe when you pick them.

How Do You Store Fresh-Picked Concord Grapes?

Here are some tips to help you get the longest shelf life from fresh Concord grapes:

  • Store them unwashed and rinse them right before using or eating
  • Keep them in the fridge (not at room temperature)
  • Put them in a well-ventilated container, such as a paper bag or a plastic bag with holes

If you follow these tips, your fresh Concord grapes can last up to 3 weeks.

How Many Grapes Do I Need to Make Juice?

You need about 1 pound of Concord grapes to make 1 cup of juice.

Because making the juice is a bit of a process, I don’t usually make homemade grape juice unless I have four or five pounds of fruit.

fresh homemade grape juice

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How to Make Grape Juice (Homemade Concord Grape Juice)

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Other Time2 hours
Yields: 8 servings
Learn how to make grape juice the easy way! Homemade Concord grape juice is a delicious, antioxidant-rich beverage that has a deep purple color and unique robust, fruity sweet grape flavor.

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Ingredients
 

  • 4 pounds Concord grapes weighed after you remove the stems; see Notes

Instructions
 

  • Put the grapes in a heavy-bottomed, lidded 5-quart pot and mash them with a potato masher. Cover the pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, and then turn heat down slightly and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Turn the 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 the juice to glass bottles or jars, and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

  • I read about the method for making homemade grape juice on Simply Recipes.
  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes about 4 cups of juice, or 8 (1/2-cup) servings.
  • Washing and Weighing: Wash the grapes before you de-stem them, but weigh them after.
  • Diluting the Juice: Homemade Concord grape juice is very thick and rich. If you like, you can dilute it with water or serve it over ice, but I prefer drinking a small quantity of undiluted juice.
  • Sweetness Level: I used very sweet grapes and the juice didn’t need any sugar. If you use ripe Concords, you shouldn’t need to add sugar either. However, if your grapes aren’t sweet enough for your liking, add sugar to taste.
  • Storage: Store the juice in glass bottles or jars in the fridge for up to 1 week. Shake before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Concord Grape Juice, Homemade Grape Juice, How to Make Grape Juice

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

how to make grape juice pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on October 26, 2011. I updated it with more information on September 3, 2023.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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25 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. i suddenly have an intense craving for some deep, dark purple grape juice–your images rock!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. FitnessSurfer 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.

  7. Now this is what I call a 100% juice. No artificiality whatsoever :)

    Love your food photography. And that table?! Oh my!

  8. 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:)

  9. 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,
    Claudia

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. These photos are so beautiful they make me want to make this Juice! And as a mom of a toddler I can say that the only time I eat a hot meal is when he is asleep LOL!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. When I reviewed restaurants, my photographer always lamented while his food was free, it was always cold!

  19. 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!

  20. Wow—amazing! I’d totally go into sugar shock from this, but I know how amazing it would taste and smell!

  21. Now this is 100 percent juice(not like those packaged guys!!). How delicious

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