I planned to juice grapes this weekend in my Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer from Finland and called around to find some fruit. Its hard to find Concord and Niagara grapes–the varieties I grew up with out in the Finger Lakes of New York–out here in Oregon. Lucky for us there are many local wineries where a guy like me can buy some grapes. I took a drive out to beautiful Crow to pick 40 lbs of grapes at Stanton Vineyard.
Charlie, the owner, helped me pick 20 lbs each of pinot gris and pinot noir grapes. The bunches were so tight and full of vigor. Very different than the classic loose-hanging, V-shaped concord clusters.
Back home, I set up an outdoor processing kitchen to enjoy the beautiful weather.
I set my water pans on the camp stove with the lids on (timers in place!) to boil while I prepped the fruit. Propane stoves like this one burn very hot so it is extremely important to keep an eye on the water level of your water pan. Timers are essential.
After I assembled the juicers, I set the timers for 30 minutes. At that time I may add water.
Above are photos of the grape level in the basket, juice level in the kettle, and water level in the water pan at 15 minute intervals: 15 – 30 – 45. By keeping a close eye on the burners, I was able to fill the water pans once for a 60 minute processing time.
I boiled my canning lids (I use Tattler reusable lids), filled the mason jars with the hot juice, and put the lids on the quart jars. After letting the grape pulp sit in the juicers till it was cool, I got another half-gallon of juice. So, for 40 lbs of grapes I got 1 quart shy of 4 gallons. This juice is silky and sweet, with rich, complex flavor unlike the sometimes strident concord flavor. I will be drinking it with seltzer (50 – 50 mix) throughout the year.
Grapes and the Mehu-Liisa are a match made in heaven. I hope you have a chance to use yours this fall during the grape harvest. Let me know if you have any questions.