Last weekend we had a charity auction at church, consequence of which I had landed with two crates of black grapes i.e. about 20 kg. Nevertheless two days, everyone was sick of grapes even mixed with oatmeal, pancakes or desserts. Hence, it was a unanimous decision to make grape squash yesterday.
So towards late noon yesterday, the kitchen counters were grape stained and I ended with four big bottles of grape squash. The trick in making them right was to proportionate the grape extract to the sugar in a 1:2 proportion with the entire water required being equal to the amount of grape extract. In three simple steps;it was ready. First wash the grapes and boil them in just sufficient water so it gets cooked and while boiling continuously mash the grapes till it becomes thoroughly juicy. Strain the mix to get the grape extract and measure it. Second is to take the sugar (keep the amount twice the extract), add to it a minimal amount of lemon juice (1 tsp for 2.5 pounds sugar) and water (the entire water used should be equal to amount of grape extract) in a pan; and heat it till the sugar dissolves and bubbles up. To prevent charring of sugar, you make to intermittently stir the mix. Third, let the sugar syrup cool till room temperature and mix it with the grape extract to form a good consistent liquid. One can add grape extract (tonovin, 1 tsp for 2 pints or 1 litre of grape extract) or sodium benzoate (almost same measure as tonovin) if preferred. Since even refrigerated squash gets over fast at home, I had avoided the latter.
On the whole, it was a fun experience for everyone including my two year old son who loved getting grape-stained. As for the remaining grapes, I had decided to make them into jam. Although making jam looks arduous, it’s actually easy and almost similar to squash, with few differences. Here the measure of grapes to the sugar is 2:1. It’s the same for all sweet fruits like strawberries, apricots but for bitter fruits like lemon and oranges we need a slightly higher amount of sugar ( I prefer a 2:1.5 ratio).
There’s nothing better than having hot dripping homemade jam especially on cakes and in pies or cold jam layered on bread. Besides making jam keeps the kids from getting into mischief indoors especially on cold, rainy days of autumn. As Sandra Dallas said, “Jam on a winter took away the blue devils. It was like tasting summer. ” Here are some pictures of jam-art to get inspired.