grape juice and homeschool

grape juice-5Our grapes are finally starting to ripen somewhat in bunches – at least there’s more than one or two ripe ones per bunch…. And if we can manage to gather a sufficient amount before the squirrels, birds and little fingers get them and eat them, we actually can collect a good bit and, you know, make something.

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My favorite is to make grape jelly, but the kids started picking grapes the other day and were insistent that they were going to make Grape. Juice. So, they gathered and gathered, and gathered some more. They roped the neighbor girls into helping them pick and after a good forty-five minutes to an hour they had a nice size container full (maybe four or five cups worth, I didn’t actually measure). Anyway, they put them in the fridge, again, insisting we they were being saved for Grape Juice.

I let them sit until Wednesday when I decided that I *could* go ahead and make the Juice, and turn it all into “life experience” and call it “homeschool”. Baby N was sleeping and the neighbor girls who had picked the grapes with them were back, so it seemed like the right time. (Not to mention, grapes straight from the vine don’t keep *that* long in the fridge before they start getting really bad.)

I don’t have pictures of the process, there were seven kids in my yard and boiling grapes on the stove so, no free hands to photograph…

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But, anyways what we did:

  1. Boil grapes for about 5-10 minutes, no water, no sugar, just on their own. Until they released their juices and were soft-ish and mashable with a spoon. (I did this part on my own)
  2. Put them through a food mill. All the kids took turns doing this. They thought it was great fun and I didn’t have to actually turn the handle over and over and over and over and……..
  3. We tasted it. Sour. and a little thick as I didn’t have a finer sieve or cheesecloth to push it through again.
  4. Opted to add a bit of sugar (maybe 1/2 cup? I didn’t measure) and a glass of water (<8 oz). (I put it back on the stove for this part, just until all the sugar was dissolved.)

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And that was it. It was enjoyed by all. It didn’t really make enough for everyone to have their thirst quenched (not when divided amongst eight people, while saving some for daddy, so really, nine people), but it was nice.

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I’m glad I did it. I feel like many times I just put off the kids ideas because they seem like too much work or I just plain don’t want to do it. It really helped me to actually include the kids in the making of the juice. Their excitement and enthusiasm for a “project” or activity sometimes can be infectious. 🙂

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And as a side note to our homeschool, I was thinking of making a notebook of life “experiences”, where we jot down “educational” (big quotation marks here) things we do. Not because I have to submit anything at the end of the year, but more to see how much learning we do outside of our more traditional school work.

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Pictures are of the grapes being picked that eventually ended up as juice.
Linking up with Coombe Mill (tomorrow) for our non-Country Kids post 😉
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall