Concord Grapes!

I planted concord grapes here in Minnesota about 7 years ago. It has been a bit of a battle trying to keep them growing. Of the three concord grape plants that I have planted, only one has survived while the other two have been replaced with new plants several times.

This year was the very first year we got a harvest of grapes. We were able to eat bowl fulls several times and are in the process of making grape juice and grape jelly. The vines have slowed their grape production, but I have sure enjoyed eating them fresh off the vine. My grandson and I visit the vines daily. We pluck some grapes off and we sit and enjoy them one by one.

The grapes have been very sweet this year. We occasionally hit a sour grape, which gets interesting facial expressions from my grandson. I ask if him “Was that a sour one?” To which he replies (like any good dutchman) “Ja!” It’s fun watching him experience life.

Grape results ahead!

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Concord grapes were cultivated in the United States by Ephraim Wales Bull in the town of Concord, Massachusetts. Ephraim’s goal was to cultivate a grape that could withstand cold and adapt to an American environment. Three years after Ephraim had developed the concord grape, he won first prize at the Boston Horticultural Society Exhibition.

I admire Ephraim’s dogged research and development of the concord grape. Even more, was the fact he never lived to see a financial gain from developing the concord grape. The epitaph on his grave reads “He sowed, others reaped”.

Concord grapes have been made famous by Welch’s Grape Juice®. Concord grapes are table grapes and are known as a “slip-skin” grape- meaning the fruit easily slips out of its skin. Besides a delicious taste, the concord grape provides you with lots of antioxidants as well as helping prevent aging, and inflammation in the brain. The resveratrol in grape skin and seed has shown the ability to lower blood pressure by relaxing the arterial walls.

Before I move on and share some really “grape” recipes, I wanted to give you some fun YouTube videos to check out:

Grape Recipes

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Grape Juice- Lynn LaFollette

  • Quart jars- fill each jar with 2 cups grapes- rinsed and stemmed
  • Pour 1/2 cup sugar into each grape filled quart jar
  • Make a large pot of boiling water
  • Pour boiling water into the quart jar halfway, then stir with a wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar and then continue to fill boiling water up to the neck of the jar
  • Seal each jar and water bath for 30 minutes
  • Shelve for 14 days before using first quart jar for juice
  • When you’re ready for grape juice, simply pop off the lid, pour contents into a fine colander, straining off grapes
  • Pour 1/2 of juice back into the jar and fill the rest with water- you’ll need to do a taste test to decide if you need more juice or less water depending on your taste.

Grape Juice for Jelly Making- Kerr Home Canning Book

Wash sound ripe grapes. Cover them with water and heat slowly to simmering. DO NOT BOIL. Cook slowly until the fruit is very soft, then strain through a bag and add 1/2 cup sugar to each quart of the juice. Pour into clean KERR Jars. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in a water bath for 30 minutes at a simmering temperature of 180° F. The sugar MAY BE OMITTED from this recipe and the juice used to make grape jelly when jars are opened.

Grape Butter

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Press cooked grape pulp through a strainer to remove seeds and skins. Measure, add one-half as much sugar; cook until thick, stirring frequently. Pour into sterilized KERR Jars and seal while hot.

Grape Juice Lemonade

  • 4 lemons
  • 1 1/2 pints water
  • 1- pint grape juice
  • 1 cup sugar

Mix lemon juice with other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour into clean KERR Jars. Put on cap, screwing band firmly tight. Process in water bath 30 minutes at a simmering temperature of 180°F.

Hey friends! That’s the end of my great grape recipes. Hope you give one or two a shot. Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends, and a “grape” life.

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