From My Desk: Grape Season

In northeastern Ohio, the changing of the leaves also means the ripening of concord grapes.  My Grandma Sarah had a big grape arbor in her yard and our family always looked forward to picking them in the fall. They were so sweet and tasty. We never called them concord grapes though, we always referred to them as “squeeze” grapes, and my family still calls them that to this day. I guess because if you have ever eaten concord grapes, you simply pick them off the vine and squeeze the inside of the grape into your mouth and swallow it whole.  If you haven’t had any, you need to try it.  I remember my first experience with squeeze grapes. I went to my friend’s house, and after running around for a few hours, we were finally tired enough that we had to rest. We rested under the grape arbor and ate the grapes until our stomachs hurt so bad that we could no longer go back to playing.  That was the first day I remember loving these squeeze grapes like I do.

Today my love for these squeeze grapes is to use them for homemade squeezed grape juice that my wife, also Sarah, cans this time of year.  My aunt always canned grape juice, and we would get a taste of it during special family get-togethers. Sarah decided she wanted to can some on her own early in our marriage so we could have it anytime. The first method she tried was a complete disaster with fresh grape juice spilling onto our counter, down the edge of the island and onto the floor, which then led to her being in tears and proclaiming she was never going to do that again. After telling my aunt about her mishap, my aunt described a much easier way to get the juice out of the grapes by using Lehman’s Mehu-Maija Steam Juicer. She quickly bought one and we have had canned grape juice year-round since.

Making grape juice with Mehu Maija Steam Juicer
The Mehu-Maija Steam Juicer is available at or in Lehman’s retail store.

My wife says the Mehu-Maija makes it so simple and it is not messy at all. Drinking our homemade squeezed grape juice offers a multitude of benefits for my family that extends far beyond just its delicious taste. Homemade grape juice is a natural powerhouse of essential nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which play a crucial role in maintaining our overall health.

Ideally, we would grow our own grapes, but unfortunately, we haven’t gotten it done yet.  Maybe next year we can start the process to one day use our own grapes.  We usually visit our local Farmers Market or Produce Auctions to buy our grapes for our juice.  I have it pretty easy – Sarah really does all the work.  She buys the grapes (the easiest part of the process), and we always try to buy the best fresh grapes we can get our hands on.  The process to make the grape concentrate is an easy process and can be found in the Mehu Maija Owner’s Manual.

Tools needed to make your grape juice concentrate:

Grape Juice Recipe:

  • 1 Quart of Grape Juice Concentrate
  • 1.5 Quarts of Water
  • 1 Cup of Sugar

Mix Well.

If you like your juice stronger, you can dilute it less. This one just works for our family.

The juicer also comes with freezing instructions (sorry we haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it works great).

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7 months ago

How long to water bath?

7 months ago

Re: eating the concord grapes whole. These are seeded grapes. I have eaten them off of the vine as well but we always spit the seeds out. Swallowing them whole would put all those seeds in your digestive tract. I do not think that is a good idea. I do not know how the steam juicer works but I bet all the seeds are not in the juice. These grapes make excellent wine as well.

Reply to  Leesa
7 months ago

Leesa, we do our quarts for 15 minutes in the water bath….thanks for asking let us know how it turns out.

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