I help out a little at Hawkin's Family Farm. I put my horticulture knowledge to work at their CSA in exchange for some chemical free fruits and veggies. This September I asked if I could pick some of their lovely grapes.
I used my trusty pair of Felco pruners to cut some clusters of grapes off the vine.
I filled two ice-cream buckets full (6 pounds give or take) which some how gave me the exact amount of juice for two batches of jelly.
Aren't they lovely?
Here's how I got the juice out:
First I soaked all the grapes in my sink in enough water that they were submerged. All the little bugs living in there had to come up for air and I used a strainer to skim them off and dump them outside. I also removed any leaves and twigs as well as any grapes that had fungus or disease. It was a dry summer so they were pretty darn clean.
I don't have a very big pot, so I did two batches in my 8-quart pan. I threw the cleaned grapes, stems and all, in with 1.5 cups of water. I don't bother to crush the grapes. The boiling will release their juices. Above you can see on the left that's how the grapes started out and then on the right is after 20 minutes simmering covered.
Next, I poured everything from the pot into a strainer over a big bowl. The juice drains through leaving the skin, stems and such behind. I poured off the first round of juice. Then I left the boiled grapes to sit over night and let the remaining juice drip out. I never squeeze or press that just makes for cloudy juice which yields cloudy jelly. The grapes did turn the bottom of my colander blue. I hope that will wear off eventually...
I've also used a strainer over a measuring cup.
I've heard of folks straining out juice through cheese cloth. My mom used to put them in a pillowcase and hang them from a branch in the back yard for the afternoon.
Then I used the recipe in the Sure-Jell box to make grape jelly. Here's the link in case you're interested. I just realized that Sure-Jell is a Kraft company. *Sigh*, I prefer not to buy from Kraft. Guess I'll have to get my pectin from some other source next time.
I made two batches of jelly one with traditional pectin and one with low sugar pectin. Check out this post to see how it went: Side by Side Comparison of Traditional and Low Sugar Pectin Recipe for Grape Jelly
My family makes jelly from wild grapes too. If you're interested here's that link: Making Wild Grape Jelly.
Do you have any tips for juicing grapes for jelly?