This autumn I've come into abou two gallons of grapes, half of that from my garden and half from a donation to the EAC. Clearly it's been a good year for grapes!
I've not got my solar dehydrator together yet (another post on that later!), and the electric one had a plastic tray touch the heating coil and melt all over it. Not something I want near my food! So some of the grapes are drying in the oven.
Another thing I'd like to make is a cider press. In the meantime I've been plucking and washing the grapes, boiling them in a saucepan with a little water, then mashed with a potato masher. Then the grapes are put through a rice strainer and wrapped in cheesecloth and squeezed between two pieces of lumber (hardwood is recommended, my juice has a distinct cedar flavour now) and squeezed with a c-clamp. This is getting most of the juice out, which is diluted to 50% and sweetened, or frozen. The seeds and skins will be going in the pile of Things-to-cook-with-horse-manure. No, I do not want little tiny grape plants coming up in my raised beds!
I recommend boiling the fruit to pasteurize it before processing, if you're not a raw food affectionado. It just makes things a little more foolproof in storage. For example many fruit flies will lay their eggs on fruits themselves, especially organic ones. Then again if you are a raw foodist you probably already own a juicer.
The virtue of a cider press is that it would not take nearly as long and could process a larger batch. I have a fond memory of some folks on Willow street buying a load of B-grade Annapolis Valley apples and pressing them out on the street, sharing the cider among the group purchase and their friends (and me, when I happened to be walking down the street!).