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!
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:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot3a5Ovv3nk– making grape jam without pectin
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MddPIxfHPUQ– growing grapes from cuttings
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8X1RKKp8TE&t=0s– spring pruning of grapevines
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=722mlgxTyo8– follow up to pruning your grapevines
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utPvcMf0aBU– when to pick your concord grapes
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.
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.
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.