Friday, October 27, 2006


I am done canning grape juice. I think.

Last month I got 16 quarts of juice off our little vine south of the house. I hoped for more, if someone had extra grapes to give me.

In the old days people canned grape juice by filling a jar half full of stemmed, whole grapes, adding some sugar, and filling the jar with water. And then canning it in boiling water of course. It was then ready to strain and drink at will.

I bought a steamer several years ago. It is a wonderful invention. You put a gallon of water into the bottom section and a whole pile of grapes into the strainer section at the top. In the center is a large kettle-like piece with a clever volcano-like thing in the middle that lets the steam percolate up from the bottom and then collects the juice that drips down without letting the juice drip into the water.

A little hose with a clamp efficiently puts the hot juice into the jars. I put the lids on and they seal with no more fuss, usually. This method makes a delicious concentrate—1 quart canned juice turns into 2 quarts of drinkable.

My friend Regina borrowed my steamer a few times and gave me a couple of big buckets of grapes in return. I canned them.

And Norm and Sara gave me about 5 buckets of grapes. So I canned them too.
I figured I was done then.

Then Norm and Sara wondered if I could use still more. Sure, why not? They gave me another 5 buckets full. I got 4 dozen jars from Paul’s sister Lois, who has three fewer young men at home than she had a couple of years ago.

I canned the grapes and then scrubbed all the purple drips off the kitchen and figured I was really done.

Then my friend Verna told me there’s a bachelor in Halsey with grapes going to waste in his backyard. Oh my, I can’t let this happen. I spent an afternoon picking and an evening canning. Then I scrubbed the kitchen again. This time I was done.

But no. Paul’s mom told me that Richard and Trish are gone hunting and their grapes are going to waste. Do I want them? I said no, I’m finished.

Well, a true Yoder by birth cannot sleep at night if there is food going to waste. Reluctantly I called Anne back. No one had taken the grapes.

Two days ago I drove to Trish’s and picked 5 buckets of grapes. Yesterday I went to Eugene and got 6 dozen jars from a woman who had read my last article and thought I might need more jars. Bless her.

Then last night I stood at the sink and washed grapes until my legs ached and steamed 23 more quarts of juice. I now have 146 quarts.

I also made 26 quarts of tomato juice, since someone had offered me 3 buckets of tomatoes and I couldn’t say no.

I told Paul to tell me I have to stop canning. He took me by the shoulders and said firmly, "If anyone offers you more grapes, or tomatoes, or apples. . ."

I interrupted him. "Well. . . maybe not apples. . . "

Quote of the Day:
"Are we about done cleaning the kitchen? And don't tell me to look around and see because when we're 'nearing the port' to you we're already in the port and unloading to me."


  1. Oh you are definitely related to someone I know very well.
    It would be fun to can such bounty-for a while.
    Your post gave me a good smile for the evening!

  2. You are funny, Dorcas. Hahahaha!!!

  3. I miss my tiny garden I had in Nebraska. I loved to get out early in the morning and pick stuff and slice it up for dinner that night. I remember trying to grow green beans once we moved here to Texas. The thought of popping open a jar in the wintertime, knowing that my family was enjoying the Lord's harvest and the fruit of my labor was a neat feeling. Everything just burned up out in the yard. Oh well. I still do a little bit of canning but nothing like what you've managed to accomplish! High Fives!

  4. it is sooo fun to have your larder full for the winter ahead!!pats on the back to you!!...and all prov.31 women around the world!!!:)

  5. Awhile back when the carrot juice thing was all the rage, you would sometimes see people who had drank so much carrot juice that their skin and nails were actually tinged orange. Now i'm beginning to wonder-Will the Smuckers be showing up at church with a purple tinge?!!!!!!!!!JK! Pauline