Friday, October 11, 2013

Blessings from my little "homestead"! I hope your week has been going great. Mine has been a week of wonder and learning. A week of getting prepared for the winter and working like a little squirrel to do so. Every day the Lord shows His love and concern for us. My Dear is a mechanic by trade, but is disabled as a Iraqi war veteran who was injured in the war. He still does usually small mechanic jobs for friends around town. He is working right now on a 1950-something jeep and has been doing work on the transmission, brakes, and clutch. It has been a lot bigger job than he usually does as he doesn't have a shop, or lift or any other larger equipment to use! He was trying to get the transmission back in to the vehicle, and was having a bit of difficulty with it. Finally just prayed and asked the Lord for help. Right away a small still voice said, "just lift up on the front of the transmission a little". He walked around and lifted it up just a little and the whole thing slide right into the jeep right where it belonged. How many times do we here a small voice and ignore it when it could make our lives so much easier if we listened? I know I am guilty of doing that, of thinking I can just figure it out myself. But really I should just save time and let the Father help me out. Anyway on to grape juice!

I was able to glean some grapes from a man in a neighboring town. His grapes were Concords, and I also got some from an alley where they grow over the fence. The fence grapes were a different variety and did not have the real sweet strong flavor like the Concords so I decided to mix the two to get a better blend. I then used a steamer juicier to make my juice. Here is the picture of the steamer juicer and grapes after I had rinsed them well to get rid of any dust, spiderwebs and spiders...
I loaded the grapes into the steamer basket at the top of the juicer, and put water in the bottom section of the juicer. The middle section with the tube coming out of it is where the juice collects as it is steamed out of the grapes. I set it on my burner and turned it on high. This will heat the water in the bottom to boiling and start steaming the grapes. It is VERY important to not let the bottom section run out of water. If it boils dry your grape juice will burn, or cook which gives it a bad taste. When the grape juice is 3/4 of the way up the cone on the inside middle section of the juicer, I used the tube to drain it directly into my hot, sterilized jars. It is very hot to take precautions. Also I only let about 2 quarts at a time collect in the juicer to preserve a fresh taste.

I adjusted lids and rings on the top (the lids had been in hot water on the stove), and set them on a double thickness of towels. I did not process it in a water bath canner, and all my jars sealed on their own from the heat alone. Of course that is not what is recommended when you read the Ball canning book, and so don't process your juicer at your own risk. Otherwise do so according to the experts on this. I put 2 tbls of sugar in each quart jar to sweeten a little, but you should do what your personal preferences are on that.That is pretty much it! So easy, and as long as you have the time to wait for the juice to start coming out, you can make delicious grape juice. I got 8 quarts of beautiful juice out of the grapes I had. Since this batch someone gifted me with three more plastic bags of the bland grapes and I am hoping to get more of the Concords to make another batch. We will drink it straight with breakfast or mix it with Squirt or Sierra Mist to make punch for Christmas dinner. Have a blessed day and next time I will show how I canned my own dried beans. Stay tuned and have a very blessed day. Remember listen for God's quiet still voice speaking to you.

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