This year I decided that it wasn't right to preserve 180 pounds of Concord grapes and only reserve enough for 1 pie. So, I pinched enough grapes to can pie filling, grapes for fruit leather, and jam. By the way, you can have the kids help with pinching. By all means, GET HELP!
Have you ever tasted a grape pie? AMAZING!! Truly, it is.
Now, let me be honest with you, this is a labor of love. Very time consuming, very tedious, and it all (juice and pie filling) must be done right away. You only have about 2 days after your grapes are picked to work with them before they start to get soft and fruit flies are every where. I did about 60 pounds of white grapes Monday afternoon till about 10 and the other 120 pounds of Concord grapes from 8 in the morning on Tuesday till midnight that night. It's a looong process, but sooo worth it.
Now, if you are not into the canning end of making grape pie filling, you can just make enough for one pie. Get your hands on some fresh Concord grapes, no less than a quarts worth, a cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Flour would work too.
For the filling you will need:
4 quarts of Concord grape pulp or 20 cups of whole grapes
3-4 cups of sugar
1/4 of lemon juice
1 cup of cornstarch or Clear Jel
This is really the same way to make Cherry Pie Filling or Blueberry Pie Filling. Just waaay more time consuming.
I pinched 4 quarts of pulp. I have hash marks on my bowl to let me know where I'm at in terms of measurement-very helpful. I separated the skin form the pulp. You do not want seeds in your pie and as far as I know, this is the quickest way to get the seeds to come loose from the pulp.
It will feel like you will never get there, keep going. Once the pulp and skins are separated, set the skins aside and put the pulp into a heavy bottomed sauce pot on the stove. Cook it on medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring from time to time. This softens the pulp.
Now pour the pulp into a strainer and push the loosened pulp through the tiny holes. The seeds will mostly be all that remains.
Take the pulp, pour it back into the pot, and turn the heat back up to medium heat.
Add the skins and 1/4 cup of lemon juice and mix together. It will make the most beautiful shade of purple. By now your house should be filled with the lovely aroma of grapes.
In a separate bowl whisk together, 1 cup of corn starch or if you prefer Clear Jel use that, and 3-4 cups of sugar. The amount of sugar will depend on if your grapes are sweet enough. Mine were very sweet unlike last year when they were a bit too tart and I had to add some sugar to the grapes when steaming them for juice! They say the later you pick your grapes the sweeter they will be, so I waited patiently for the end of the month. Worth it!
Sprinkle mixture over your deep purple pie filling and stir together. Bring it to a low boil stirring constantly till thick. Turn it off. Ladle the filling into hot jars. I was able to get about 3 1/2 quart jars of filling. Process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.
I couldn't wait to eat this pie! I rolled out my crust and poured in one quart. Before you place your top crust on, cut out any shapes you desire or cut slits in the top to let out the steam. Then, place the top on.
Bake at 425 until crust is golden brown (35-45 minutes) or as long as your pie crust recipe tells you to.
Let it stand and cool before cutting into it. It will be hard to wait, I know! It is always very rewarding to slice into it after a looong day on your feet in the kitchen.
And then wake up early enough to grab another slice before everybody else gets up!
Why not? You deserve it!
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."