Do you remember that we got a lot of grape juice from the grapes in the courtyard recently? Harvesting, pounding, and juicing the grapes is always a peculiar mixture of fun, mess, and labor. My neighbor family owns a big juice extractor, and all the good grapes go into there.
You see, this one is not at all like a convenient, electrified juice extractor, where you can just throw in whatever you want to juice, push a button, and it does all the work for you. Instead, the squeezing mechanism is activated by throwing all your body weight against the green lever that is fixed to the wheel on top of the juice extractor, and move it around horizontally. Then, the juice pours out of the tube at the bottom.
You see, it is quite the work! (And none for me, because with my messed-up elbow joint, I cannot do things like these anymore.)
After an afternoon of work, you will receive this: fresh grape juice!
And not just a small pot like this! There were so many grapes this year that we were finally sitting on more than 60 liters of grape juice that wanted to be finished off as soon as possible, because on the second or third day after extraction, it already starts to become alcoholic. (This might actually be nice, but the vine that grows in the courtyard is not appropriate for making wine – vinegar maybe – so this is not what you would want.)
So, what to do with all that juice? Of course, you could drink it, but it was so sweet that I rather wanted to stay away from that sugar-overload. Instead, I made jam.
Jamming is a great way to quickly finish off big amounts of fruit or juice, and although I do not actually eat jam, I know several people who do, and who are happy about a jar of home-made jam.
Actually, it rather became a kind of jelly because the basis of it was fruit juice, not chopped fruit. To make it more interesting, I made two different kinds: one with lemon juice and fresh mint, and one with chopped plums and nectarines. If you want to make this but cannot find any grape juice, you could also make this with other kinds of juice. I imagine blackcurrant juice would be awesome as well!
HOMEMADE GRAPE JELLY
makes a lot of jelly
Grape, Lemon, and Mint Jelly Ingredients
3/4 l (3 cups) grape juice
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 tbsp lemon juice)
500 g (1 lb) canning sugar
1 handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
Grape, Plum, and Nectarine Jelly Ingredients
350 ml (1 1/2 cups) grape juice
2 large plums, pitted and finely chopped
2 nectarines, pitted and finely chopped
500 g (1 lb) canning sugar
jars for filling in the jelly
jelly funnel (optional, but makes things easier a lot)
In a large pot, bring all ingredients to boil – grape juice, lemon juice, and canning sugar, or grape juice, canning sugar, and chopped fruit, respectively – and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Eventually, add the mint, then fill the hot jelly into jars immediately.
With this, a funnel helps to prevent spilling. Try to fill the jars to the brim, then close them firmly. Let them sit for a few minutes before turning them upside down.
Keep the jelly in a dark, cool place, then it lasts for about a year.
Have you ever made jam or jelly yourself?