Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Makin' Grape Juice

The autumn days have settled in here and along with the cool crisp days comes the ripening of the orchard.  The apples are ready on the Cortland tree and the Concord grapes are starting to ripen.  It is such a blessing to have all of these good things growing right in our own little spot of earth.  But it can also mean a lot of work! 

This year, the boys are a bit older, and so we've decided to have a Harvest Week instead of the more structured book type learning of "regular" homeschool days.  They were excited to get started so I set them to work right away!

The two eldest boys washed the grapes, plucked them from their stems, smashed them up and put them into a pot.  The smashing was by far the most exciting part.  They are so juicy!

 Here they are all smashed up and ready to cook.  Did you know that concords are green on the inside even when ripe?  It's the skin that gives the juice that dark color. 
 They cook over medium heat just until they boil for a few minutes to release the juice.  Then it all gets put into a cheesecloth to be strained.
 The color is so beautiful to me and the whole process smells soooo good.  I let it sit in the cheesecloth for a day or overnight and then carefully pour it into a big glass jar for the fridge or freezer.  And Yes! We drink it straight!  It's sooooo tart!  We put it over ice-cubes and it's a fun time.  I also use it to make grape jelly.  Homemade grape jelly tastes so much better than the store bought kind and it's a treat to have a jar in the pantry come winter.

So right about now you might be wondering how I manage to get this done with little Hen always getting into things!  He is definitely into things!  (i love it!)  Well...the two older boys were so helpful that while they were making the grape juice I made a batch of chocolate zucchini bread, which kept Hen busy.

*Don't miss out on the opportunity to win something from my Etsy shop!  You still have two days to sign up.  I hope to hear from you about which one you like as it's an important part of the learning process in this whole adventure!  Thanks!

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