This year, the start of autumn coincided with our first real harvest of grapes from the garden. Some were tart, some were sweet, and all of them were delicious. But they were also full of seeds, the way grapes naturally are, so making grape juice seemed like a perfect way to process them. A big pan full of grapes yielded around 3 litres of this beautiful burgundy liquid: sweet and fruity, but also tart, rich and interesting. The beauty of making your own is that you can adjust the sweetness to your liking based on the flavour of the grapes and create something much more complex and grown-up than the standard grape juice you can buy in the shops.
Here’s how to do it (without fancy equipment)
- Wash the grapes thoroughly, put them in a large pan and cover with water
- Bring to a boil- take off the heat and mash the grapes with a potato masher, by now the water should have a lovely colour and the grapes have all been squashed
- Now bring to the boil again and boil for 10 minutes
- take off the heat and leave to cool (at least until you won’t burn yourself in the next step)
- Now pass everything through a cheesecloth into a clean pan or bowl. Make sure you squeeze out all the liquid, so you’re only left with the pulp.- Now put on a very gentle heat and add as much sugar or honey as you like. I added 10 tbsp of sugar in the end (for 3 litres of juice) and it’s now right in between sour and sweet, but it will depend on the sweetness of your grapes.
- Pour your juice into sterilised bottles and put them in the fridge.
It’s lovely as a little aperitif, served over ice, but you could also use it in desserts or even savoury dishes.