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A step-by-step guide showing you how to make grape juice — no peeling, seeding, or cooking required! In just minutes, you’ll have a jar of homemade grape juice for canning, and all you need is concord grapes, sugar, and water. It’s sweet, flavorful, refreshing, and incredibly easy!

Close up front shot of concord grape juice in a glass bottle

Concord Grape Juice

There’s a farm about a mile up the road where we can pick concord grapes each August and September. My neighbor, Barbara, has an annual tradition with her son where they harvest buckets of these grapes, and then use them to make jelly and juice to enjoy throughout the year. When she showed me how to make grape juice with her favorite, easy method, I couldn’t believe how simple (and delicious) it was!

Instead of cooking the grapes on the stovetop, the old-fashioned recipe simply combines concord grapes with sugar and boiling water in a mason jar. Process the jars in a hot water bath, let them sit for at least 3 months to develop the best flavor, and then strain the juice and enjoy. You’ve got to try this!

How do you extract juice from grapes?

There are many different methods that get you to the same result — homemade grape juice! Some folks use a fancy juicer, others like a food processor, blender, or potato masher, and some prefer boiling or steaming the grapes to extract the juice. Today, however, I’ll show you how to make grape juice for canning the easiest way I know. It’s like magic, and the end result is a vibrant, flavorful, refreshing beverage that’s high in antioxidants and totally kid-approved!

This is the same method that I use to make my old-fashioned blackberry lemonade, which is so easy because you don’t have to cook, mash, or blend the fruit. Instead, the grapes macerate in the boiling sugar water as they sit in a mason jar. The combination of the sugar and water creates the liquid sugar or “simple syrup” that you typically need to make juice. At the same time, the sugar macerates the grapes, softening the fruit and drawing out the juices and flavor.

Square shot of two glasses of grape juice on a table

The Supplies That You’ll Need

In order to can homemade grape juice, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Sterilized mason jars and lids: I use quart-size jars, but you can also use half-gallon mason jars for larger batches. Scale the recipe to make as many jars as you like.
  • Measuring cups: I use regular measuring cups to measure the dry ingredients (grapes and sugar), as well as a large measuring cup with a pouring spout for the boiling water.
  • Microwave, tea kettle, or stovetop: for boiling the water. I use my microwave to boil the water in batches, but Barbara has shorted out her microwave in the past doing this. Instead, she uses an electric tea kettle. You can boil your water on the stovetop, or with any method that you prefer.
  • Tongs: canning tongs are incredibly helpful when taking the jars in and out of the boiling water.
  • Canner or Large Pot for Boiling Jars: this needs to be very deep so that you can cover the jars with at least 1-2 inches of water. I use my deepest stock pot for this step, since I don’t have an official canner to process the jars.

How to Sterilize Jars for Canning

It’s a good practice to sterilize the jars and lids before canning in order to kill any bacteria, fungi, or yeast. There are a variety of ways to sterilize the jars (here’s a helpful article with different options). I typically use the dishwasher, or just boil them for 10 minutes in the same big pot of water that I’ll use for processing.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for homemade grape juice. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Grapes: use concord grapes for the best flavor and color. This variety contains a chemical compound known as methyl anthranilate, which is used to give soft drinks and candy its grape flavor. The concord grapes yield a juice with intense grape flavor — similar to the Welch’s juice that you know and love — which is hard to replicate with other varieties.
  • Sugar: granulated sugar sweetens the juice. Barbara says that you can reduce the amount of sugar called for in this recipe, but I’ve not tested a lower-sugar version. This ratio is perfect, as far as we’re concerned!
  • Boiling water: the liquid base for the juice. I boil my water in batches in a very large glass measuring cup with a pourable spout. You can boil your water over high heat on the stovetop, or in a tea kettle as well.
  • Wooden spoon: use the long handle on a wooden spoon to stir the sugar into the boiling water.
Pouring boiling water in a jar

How to Make Grape Juice with Seeded Grapes

Concord grapes are known for their numerous large seeds, which make them hard to eat on their own. That said, these grapes yield the best grape juice — and the process couldn’t be easier!

  1. Place 1 cup of grapes in a quart-size mason jar.
  2. Pour ½ cup of sugar over the grapes.
  3. Add boiling water to fill the jar about halfway.
  4. Stir until the sugar dissolves in the hot water.
  5. Fill the jar the rest of the way with boiling water, leaving a ¼-inch of headspace at the top.
  6. Secure the lids and rings.
  7. Repeat with as many remaining jars and grapes as you like.
  8. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  9. Let the jars sit for at least 3 months to allow the flavor to develop.
  10. Strain the grapes and sediment through a sieve and store in the fridge in a clean mason jar or pitcher.
Straining grape juice through a sieve

How to Can Grape Juice

In order to can the juice to make it shelf-stable, you’ll need to process the jars in a canner or in a pot of boiling water. Make sure that the jars are covered by at least 2 inches of water, and boil for 10 minutes.

Square image of a pitcher of homemade grape juice

How long does homemade grape juice last?

Once the juice has had a chance to cool, check the seals. The lids should be down in the center or stay down when pressed. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 weeks. Properly sealed and processed jars of homemade grape juice should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place (such as a pantry) for up to 1 year.

Horizontal image of a jar and glasses of homemade concord grape juice on a table

Tips for the Best Old Fashioned Grape Juice Recipe

  • Scale the recipe to make as many jars of juice as you like. You can prepare one jar at a time if you just have a small batch of grapes, or you can prepare many jars to enjoy throughout the year.
  • For the most robust flavor, allow the juice to sit for at least 3 months before straining and serving.
  • Barbara says that you can reduce the sugar in this recipe; however, I have not tested a lower-sugar version. We think it has just the right amount of sweetness as written!
  • To can the juice in half-gallon jars (instead of quart-size jars), the process is the same. You’ll need 2 cups of grapes and 1 cup of sugar in each jar, as well as boiling water to fill. Process the larger jars in a hot water bath for 15-20 minutes.
  • Use any fine mesh sieve or strainer to separate the solids from the juice. We have these mason jar strainer lids that are so convenient!
Side shot of two glasses of homemade grape juice on a table with a box of grapes

More Canning and Preserving Recipes to Try

Square image of a pitcher of homemade grape juice

How to Make Grape Juice

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Resting Time 30 days
Total: 30 days 20 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Calories 137 kcal
Homemade grape juice is easier than you think — no cooking, seeding, or peeling necessary!

Ingredients
  

  • 1- quart mason jar, lid, and ring
  • 1 cup concord grapes, rinsed and stems removed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups boiling water (approximately)

Instructions

  • Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions for sterilized jars. Keep jars and lids hot until filled. Always use new lids.
  • Place the grapes in a 1-quart jar. Add the sugar. Pour boiling water into the jar about halfway to ⅔ full; stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add enough additional boiling water to fill the jar, leaving ¼-inch of head space at the top. Use a damp cloth to wipe any drips from the top and sides of the jars. Cover with a hot lid and tighten ring firmly.
  • Repeat this process with as many jars and grapes as you like.
  • Set the hot jars on a rack in a canner or in a large pot of boiling water. The water needs to cover the jars by at least 1-2 inches. Boil the jars for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the jars from the boiling water and set on a towel or rack to cool overnight.
  • When cool, check the seals. The lids should be down in the center or stay down when pressed. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 3 months or up to 1 year. When ready to use the juice, strain the liquid, discard the solids, and store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

  • Scale the recipe to make as many jars of juice as you like. You can prepare one jar at a time if you just have a small batch of grapes, or you can prepare many jars to enjoy throughout the year.
  • For the most robust flavor, allow the juice to sit for at least 3 months before straining and serving.
  • Barbara says that you can reduce the sugar in this recipe; however, I have not tested a lower-sugar version. We think it has just the right amount of sweetness as written!
  • To can the juice in half-gallon jars (instead of quart-size jars), the process is the same. You’ll need 2 cups of grapes and 1 cup of sugar in each half-gallon jar, as well as boiling water to fill. Process the larger jars in a hot water bath for 15-20 minutes.
  • Use any fine mesh sieve or strainer to separate the solids from the juice. We have these mason jar strainer lids that are so convenient!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 0.4gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 113mgFiber: 1gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 39IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword: concord grape juice, grape juice recipe, homemade grape juice, how to can grape juice, how to make grape juice
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Marion says:

    5 stars
    Gee whiz, Blair! You sure take incredible mouthwatering photographs! I can’t believe how simple the process is! Even I may be able to do that! Maybe not right away but you will definitely put it on my bucket list of ‘maybe projects. Thanks again, so much.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Marion! 🙂

  2. Marion says:

    Another thing that makes me think seriously about making this is that it doesn’t call for as many grapes as I would have thought. Only 1 cupful per quart jar! That strikes me as very economical. Especially considering the price of juice these days. Wow. One question. You suggest sterilizing the jars in the stockpot. How do you get them in and out without burning yourself? Do you recommend a particular brand of canning equipment. Thanks!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I don’t have a specific brand that I prefer, but I always use canning tongs to get the jars in and out.

  3. Tammy says:

    5 stars
    Pretty comprehensive, right down to the nutrition. I was looking for this recipe given to me by my husband’s aunt and uncle 30 years ago! I thought I had imagined how simple it was, but viola, here it is. Thanks.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad that you can enjoy it again, Tammy! 🙂

  4. Pat says:

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for this perfect recipe! I just have a few backyard grapes and they get shaded by the leaves so harvest is pretty uneven – no huge all at the same time batches for me. But it’s no problem to get 1 or 2 cups at a time and really, how many concord grapes pies can you eat anyway? 🙂 This is so much easier. Your instructions are great and your pictures are amazing!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      So glad that you enjoyed it, Pat! Thanks for your note!

  5. Sandy says:

    5 stars
    We usually use a bit more grapes, if we have lots and half the amount of sugar. Plenty sweet for us.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Sandy! Yes, you can absolutely adjust the sweetness to suit your taste. Such a treat!

  6. Debra says:

    This may be a silly question but half of the jars of juice that I’ve processed have the grapes floating at the top, and half have the floating at the bottom. They all are sealed. Why is this?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Debra! I have no idea! As long as all of the jars are properly sealed, though, the juice should be great!

  7. Michael D. Mouton says:

    Why would you water down Concord grape juice. I press mine, clarify them as best I can, and water bath the juice straight. If you have people who don’t like it that strong you can add water after the fact.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Michael! This doesn’t water down the grape juice at all — it’s incredibly flavorful and robust after it sits as instructed. I’m sure that your method works well, too! This is just another option for those interested. 🙂