I have had a basket of grapes sitting on my counter for a few days. It is time to make something with them. I decided to try Grape Juice since it is one of my favourite juices. The recipe was contributed by Mrs. O. F. Boullee of Syracuse, New York for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
Grapes were long available in this area both wild and cultivated and were used for juice and preserves. I get the feeling that with the growth of the Ontario wine industry these lovely grapes have developed a bad rap. They don’t make good wine but they make the best jam, jelly and juice and they don’t require all the coddling needed by wine grapes. My former landlords had grapes in the back yard and the vines grew easily on a good strong fence. A little trimming of leaves to allow the sun to reach the grapes and they were ready.
Five quarts of grapes would equal twenty cups but I had a little less than six cups of Ontario blue/purple grapes. After washing and removing them from the stems I added just over 1 1/2 cups of water to a saucepan with the grapes instead of 8 cups (4 quarts). I let them boil until they were popping from the skins which didn’t take very long at all. Next I strained the juice and boiled it for the required 15 minutes. I didn’t end up with very much juice but there was plenty to sample. I’ll be keeping the rest in the fridge to avoid any possible fermentation and explosions.
Ottoman F. Boullee was born in Wilmot Township (Waterloo County) around 1856 according to Waterloo Region Generations website. By 1906 he is in Syracuse NY and married but I don’t have any information about his wife — the woman who contributed this recipe. He was one of 11 children. His niece Florence Augusta Boullee contributed several recipes to the Berlin Cook Book which is probably how Mrs. O. F. Boullee came to have a recipe in this cook book.
As I mentioned I like grape juice and this is the classic purple grape juice. My wooden spoon and some of my clothing have blue purple decorations. The smell alone makes me drool and it tasted very good. With no sugar added this is the real pure juice. This is a juice for sipping not guzzling. Yes it is wasteful since there isn’t much to be done with the pulp once the juice is gone but as a special treat when the grapes are cheap go ahead and try it.
5 quarts purple grapes stemmed, 2 quarts water, boil until fruit bursts, strain through bags then boil 15 minutes, bottle and seal.