Steamer canning Concord grape juice question

tatton95(5)October 27, 2011

I was wondering how long you normally steam your Concord grapes for juice? The instructions I have say that from the time the steam starts coming out of the lid it should take 60 minutes to get all the juice. If I only steamed the grapes for 60 mintes I would get around 2-3 quarts from a full batch, but if I steam them for around 3 hours I get 5-6 quarts. My elevation is 4500 feet above sea level, so that my have something to do with it, but I am just trying to figure out if I am doing something wrong.



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How much of the extra 2-3 quarts is condensation from steam? The longer you leave it, the more watered down the juice will be. After 1 hour it's probably just stained water.

If you want to steam for less time to save on fuel, you can mash the grapes first, maybe freeze them first to break cell walls and let juice out, or boil them briefly for the same reason, then put in juicer and steam until the juice slows in runoff. You will get a lot of juice right away, like in the first 10 minutes of boiling. This is the best juice.

Then you may get another quart over the next half hour. If you keep boiling and steaming after the first hour, you will mostly get stained, condensed water from steam. So turn off heat and let it sit a half hour till you get the last juice, then put the mash in a colander or pasta insert in a pan and set overnight in the fridge and the very last juice will drain overnight. You can also put the juicer colander and juice pan in the fridge after it cools, just remove the water pan. The resulting mash will be very dry.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 3:08PM
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The last quart of juice we get is just as sweet and concentrated as the first quart.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Then maybe it's different at your elevation. You should do the three hours every time, maybe four hours.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Happy day, I notice that if I have the steamer at a nice simmer, I don't get the same amount of juice as I do if I keep it at a harder boil.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Judi, do you get more or less juice at the simmer? Which way is best for getting the most juice?

Last night I was trying to get juice out of squash pulp for making wine. First boiled the chunks in water than put the pulp in the steam juicer. After steaming the pulp at a boil for twenty minutes then letting it sit for a half hour, I really only got about as much juice from the pulp as the water I had boiled the chunks in. Of course squash is pretty dry to begin with, but the pulp was still heavy and wet. Do you think I should have boiled it in the steamer longer?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 10:59PM
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We have had a few good freezes (25-30 degrees) since I posted this and it has made a pretty big difference in how much juice we get and how long it takes. We are averaging 7 quarts per batch and it is taking around two hours.

Judi, we have noticed the same thing about getting more juice quicker if we maintain a harder boil.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 9:20AM
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Freezing breaks down cell walls and lets juice out faster. I've read that ice wine is made from grapes that have frozen.

One way to find out how much of your juice is water from steam is to weigh the grapes before and after steaming. If you started with 20 pounds of grapes and finished with 30 pounds of grape mash and juice, you would know you had 10 pounds of added water. Make sure to exclude weights of containers.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 12:07PM
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We start with 19-20 lbs of grapes in the steamer and average 6 quarts of juice per batch with about 6-7 lbs of grape mash. Six quarts equals 12 lbs plus the 6-7 lbs of leftover grape mash, so we are getting little if any water from the steam in the juice. I have always found this interesting, because you would think you would get more water from the steam in the juice.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:05AM
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Some water weight is lost from steam boiling off, too. Not just from the water pot but probably from the fruit as well. If you also weighed all the water that you put in the base and subtracted what was left you could find out how much water weight was boiled off, not that it matters.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 12:37PM
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