What do you get when you combine 4 bushels of grapes, 75 pounds of sugar, 120 mason jars and a whole chapter of FFA members? Nearly 50 gallons of homemade grape juice ready for donating to local food pantries!
On October 5th and 6th the members of the Zane Trace FFA worked throughout the day to process 159 quarts and 12 half gallon jars of grape juice. The students started by picking, sorting and washing the grapes to ensure the top quality grapes were used for the juice. They then combined grapes, sugar and boiling water into sanitized mason jars and added the lids and rings. The jars were then processed for 20-30 minutes in a water bath canner to ensure sterilization and a tight seal of the lids. After this the jars were allowed to cool and rest so the flavors could blend.
After four days the members performed a quality check on the jars and found that all of them had correctly sealed. They also labeled each jar and cleaned them so they would look attractive for the families that received them. The jars were sorted into boxes and stored until they can be donated to the Church Triumphant and Kingston Food Pantries this November.
Members also had the opportunity to taste test their juice to ensure it’s quality. Everyone who tried the juice loved the flavor and had fun enjoying the product of their hard work. The students also gained appreciation for the work it takes to turn a raw product into a processed food ready for consumption. Additionally, they learned how to use the water bath method to preserve high-acid foods and discovered how easy it can be to make their own homemade canned goods, provided they can find jars, lids and rings in stores!