Grape Harvest

soilent_greenSeptember 11, 2013

Pic shows harvest of Concord and a forgotten but wonderful variety of seeded green grape, harvested today. Good crop this year - 40 pounds, 20 pounds per crate. I estimate another 20 yet to harvest. Not a wine person, going to use the steam juicer to juice them for jelly and breakfast juice.

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soilent_green

"Good crop this year - 40 pounds, 20 pounds per crate. I estimate another 20 yet to harvest." - Another 20 pounds to harvest, not another 20 crates. No matter how careful I am, vague statements still occasionally slip through my proofreading... ;)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:05AM
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soilent_green

Juicing is finished, ended up with 17 quarts.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:27PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Ooh, yummy. Bet they make great jam and juice.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 12:34AM
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soilent_green

Yes, very good and naturally sweet - the grapes have a high sugar content this year.

Image shows 11 quarts of canned grape juice. Nothing has been added - the natural color is the result of combining the Concord and green grapes. The remainder of the juice that was harvested was made into jelly.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:13PM
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DaveLindahl5432(4)

Awesome job my wife and I make the best jelly in the world and we have a special jam we call Honey Jack jam which as the name suggest we use some honey jack whiskey in it and most people like it better than just grape jelly. We might enter it into the state fair next year and see how we do. We have a grape bush that are Concords and one other grape I have no idea what it is because they were already there when we moved in and it wouldn't be worth it now to trellis them. We get 60 jar of jelly off two plants with some extra arms that come off them. How do you make the Juice I would be interested in trying that also.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 12:43PM
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soilent_green

DaveLindahl5432 - Thanks for posting. Your jelly sounds wonderful, definitely enter it in the fair. 60 jars of jelly, that takes a commitment!

"How do you make the Juice I would be interested in trying that also." - I use a steam juicer similar to this one. To anyone thinking of acquiring one I recommend getting a stainless steel unit, not aluminum. I use this method for all my juices and jellies.

E.C. Kraus is a wine making web site. Scroll down, there are some good discussions regarding using steam juicers for processing grapes - good information that can be applied to making breakfast juice and jelly. They also sell steam juicers.

Most people I know put the grapes into the hopper stems and all, but I feel that the stems impart an off-flavor so I take the time to pick all the grapes off the stems. Doing this allows me to cull out any bad grapes at that time and also give them a nice cold water rinse. If you decide to pick the grapes off the stems, skins often tear so only pick off enough grapes for one batch at a time - keep the juice and flavor locked up in those grapes as long as possible.

Ask around, there might be someone willing to loan their steam juicer out to you to try so that you can see if you like the concept before investing in one. Even out of season - just go buy some table grapes from the grocery store and juice them to try out the concept. I have loaned mine out many times, wish I got a commission from the steam juicer companies for all the people that ended up getting their own after using mine. :)

-Tom

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:47PM
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northernmn(3/4)

As always, Your pictures are top drawer. The color mixing in the grape boxes really makes them stand out. The juice also looks wonderful. That is a hefty harvest for a challenging season.

I have been thinking about trying a grape variety or two. There seems to be a short list of varieties that are hardy for my area, but of those, some look very interesting.

We have made grape jelly in the past from fruit acquired from a friend that lives in our area. The grapes were smaller than yours, but the flavor was very good.

How many plants did it take to yield 60#s of fruit? How old are your plants? Did you start from cuttings or bare root?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:09PM
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soilent_green

Due to attrition I am down to three plants from an original six. Those six plants were planted along 50 feet of trellis, this harvest was from approximately 30 feet of that 50 foot length. They were planted in either '95 or '96. Production started around five years after planting, heavy production after around seven. I bought the plants bare root mail order with the exception of a green seeded variety that I bought in a bare root package from Menards of all places - please don't ask me why. LOL Funny thing is that the green variety is my biggest producer at this point. They taste terrible if they are not fully ripe, so it is easy to know when to pick.

I personally do not want anything to do with grafted varieties due to their inherent weaknesses. There are so many nice varieties that have been developed for cold climates now that a person should not have to deal with this issue, unless wine making is the goal. Even then grafted varieties are not really necessary.

I am a little out of date regarding all the new varieties that are out there, but I found the seedless types to be inherently weaker plants with lower yields, so I am biased against them. The seeds do not bother me in the least regarding processing so I will always lean towards choosing productive winter-hardy varieties, whether seedless or seeded is a minor secondary issue.

If you are going to build a grape trellis be certain to follow modern established standards for construction. There is nothing worse than finding out too late that your trellis impedes harvest and pruning. I learned this the hard way by building a very pretty trellis of my own design that turned out to be an absolute royal pain. Late last winter an ice storm felled a tree branch across my trellis. I patched it up temporarily for the season and I decided to repair it but I am also going to construct a proper new trellis in a new location. Late last winter I rooted some cuttings for using in the new location but I may also purchase a seeded white grape variety - a neighbor has it and it is wonderful, just need to find out the name.

Birds are a terrible problem around here getting into the grapes, robins especially. This year I got the netting on early and was obsessed with checking it daily. This is why I got a good harvest. A couple of seasons I forgot to put the netting on and the entire crop was destroyed.

Once again my "obsolescence" may be showing but if I could only choose one variety of grape it would be the original seeded Concord, for plant hardiness and flavor. More productive varieties are available now but Concord productivity is still adequate enough for me.

University of MN Grape Website

Oh, and one last thing. It seems that the more abusive you are towards the vines the better the production. Last winter I did not feel like taking the time to prune so I fired up the gas hedge trimmer and did a hack job. I really do not recommend using this method but I got a great harvest.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:03PM
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DaveLindahl5432(4)

Just finished up the first stages of harvesting of my 2 grape plants. It only took me 6 days at about 2.5 hours a night to cut off, pick every grape off the clumps and take off skins and then put them in the freezer. I can't wait to see how many jars of jelly I get this year. I'm thinking that I might get over 60 jars which would be a new record. I might have to hire help next year to lighten my load if the grape bush keeps producing the way it has been over the last two years. All I know is its a pain to try to cut off every bunch of grapes off the bush. My 2 year olds will be trestled which will make my job a lot easier. I will send pictures of Jelly when we finally get them done.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 3:08PM
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