Concord grapes get their name from Concord, Mass. where they were first developed. They were the grapes used to make the first commercial grape juice produced by Thomas Welch and are still the grape used in Welch's 100 percent grape juice concentrate. Concord grapes are the best selling grapes on the market today.
Every pound of Concord grapes will make approximately 1 cup of juice. Wash the grapes, removing the stems. Place a cup or two of grapes in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Transfer to a large stockpot. Continue to mash and transfer until all the grapes are done. Slowly heat the mashed grapes and juice over low heat until they come to a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Strain the juice though a cheesecloth lined colander placed over a large bowl or saucepan overnight. Pour the juice into jars, cover and refrigerate.
Wash and stem 3 1/2 lbs. of Concord grapes. Crush and place the grapes in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add 1/2 cup water and cook for 10 minutes to release the juices from the grapes. Strain the grape juice and pour back into another saucepan. Add 7 cups of sugar and bring to a boil. Add 1 package of pectin and boil for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into jelly jars and cap. Use a boiling water bath for 15 minutes if you want to store the jelly without refrigeration.
It takes approximately 10 lbs. of Concord grapes to make a gallon of homemade wine. To the juice pressed and cooked from the grapes, you will need approximately 2 cups of sugar for a dry wine and up to 4 cups for a sweeter version. You should use a red wine yeast and plan on the fermentation process to take up to 90 days. A simple wine kit, purchased at either a local brew shop or online, will supply all the equipment you need to turn your Concord grapes into homemade wine.
Concord grape pie is a delicacy, especially if served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is also very simple to make. Squeeze the pulp out of 2 cups of grapes into a saucepan. Place the skins in a bowl for later. Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Strain the pulp through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Add the skins,1 1/4 cups sugar, 2 eggs and 2 tbsp. of butter to the strained pulp. Pour into a prepared pie shell and cover with a second crust. Slice two 1 inch vents in the center of the top crust and bake on a cookie sheet for 50 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.
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