We inherited a row of grape vines when we bought our little farm and this year they have rewarded our efforts at reclaiming them with sweet purple grapes.  The elderly couple who built the home had not been able to properly care for the place for a few years and as a result the fruit trees were all in desperate need of pruning.  The plum trees were beyond saving so we cut those down and planted new ones.  The grape arbor was a massive tangle of old vines with some green growth just at the top.  We severely pruned them per instructions in 19th century treatises, half expecting them to die from shock, and this year we were pleasantly surprised with grapes.

Yesterday I picked 3 large dishpans full of grapes, stemmed them, juiced them, and canned seven quarts of grape juice, not bad for vines left neglected for so long.  Besides jelly, what might the juice have been used for by my grandmothers?  A little research provided loads of ideas.  Perhaps a few may inspire you as well.

GRAPE JUICE AND SODA. “Practical Druggist”.  Sept. 1908.

There is a demand for grape juice just served with many of the carbonated waters.  To do this, fill the glass half full of the desired water and pour in the grape juice last.  Mix with a spoon or by pouring.

GRAPE SUNDAE.  Same, Oct. 1908.

Ice cream is very tasteful when covered with the grape pulp; for this purpose the pulp is better if it be left undiluted.  This may be topped with a little whipped cream if desired.

WELCH’S GRAPE PUNCH.  Same, May 1908.

For a dainty, unfermented punch, take the juice of three lemons, juice of one orange, one pint of Welch’s grape juice, one quart of water and one cup of sugar.  If served from a punch bowl, add sliced oranges and pineapple.

GRAPE CREAM SODA.  “American Druggist”.  Oct. 1912.

Put a small cone of vanilla ice cream in a soda glass, add 2 ounces of grape juice, a spoonful of crushed fruit and fill up with the fine stream.  Top with a spoonful of whipped cream.  [Soda water].

ENGLISH PLUM PUDDING.  “Eureka Cook Book”.  1907.

Three cups chopped suet, 6 cups sifted flour, 2 cups raisins, 2 cups currants, 1 cup citron, 1 teaspoon each ginger, cloves, allspice, 1 grated nutmeg, I heaped teaspoon baking powder, a little salt, 3 eggs, wine glass of grape juice, milk enough to make a stiff batter.  Soak fruit in grape juice, chop the suet, and put it in a cool place overnight.  Mix baking powder and suet in the flour dry, add fruit, milk and the eggs, stir thoroughly.  Boil 6 or 8 hours in a well floured pudding bag or in a tightly covered pudding mould.  [The mixture can be put into a mixing bowl that is then placed inside a larger pan of simmering water when one does not have a pudding mould.]

GRAPE SOUP.  “The North End Club Cook Book”.  1905.

Stem, wash and cook enough Concord grapes to secure 1 quart of rich grape juice.  Add 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of seedless raisins (which have been soaked in water for 2 hours) and 4 sticks of cinnamon.  Let boil for half an hour, remove the sticks of cinnamon and thicken with 4 tablespoons of flour.  Grape jelly can also be used in place of the grape juice.  To be served hot or very cold.

MINCEMEAT.  “Hanover Cook Book”.  1922.

1 ½ lbs. of beef boiled and chopped, 2 lbs. beef suet chopped fine, 4 lbs. apples, 2 lbs. raisins, 2 lbs. currants, 2 lbs. sugar, 1 pt. [pint] grape juice, 2 nutmegs, ½ oz. cinnamon, ¼ oz. cloves, ¼ oz. mace, 1 teaspoonful salt, ½ lb. citron, 2 large oranges.  [The mincemeat could be frozen in portions for baking pies.]

MINCEMEAT.  2.  “Hanover Cook Book”.

3 lbs. lean meat, ¼ lb. suet, 3 lbs. sugar, 5 lbs. apples, 2 lbs. raisins, 2 lbs. currants, ½ lb. citron, 3 lemons, 3 nutmegs, 1 oz. mace, ½ pt. grape juice, ½ gal. cider.  All these things must be chopped, meat well cooked; fresh tongue is best.

FRUIT CAKE.  “Hanover Cook Book”.

1 lb. sugar, 1 lb. flour, ¾ lb. butter, 8 eggs, 2 lbs. raisins, 1 lb. currants, ½ lb. citron, ½ pt. grape juice, 1 tablespoonful cinnamon, 1 teaspoonful allspice, 1 tablespoonful cloves, and 2 nutmegs.  [The amount of spice is probably too much for modern palates, adjust per your taste.  Cream the sugar, butter, and eggs.  Mix in the flour into which the spices have been mixed, the fruit, and grape juice.  Bake at 350 until done, test with a toothpick.  Fruit cakes flavored with grape juice were relatively common.]

FRUIT COCKTAIL.  “Country Kitchen Cookbook”.  1922.

1 cup cherry juice, ½ c. lemon juice, ½ c. grape juice, 1 pineapple, ½ lb. marshmallows, powdered sugar, 3 oranges.  Shred the pineapple.  Peel the oranges, free from membrane and seeds, and cut into small pieces.  Snip the marshmallows into small sections.  Mix the fruit and marshmallow and sweeten with powdered sugar.  Mix the fruit juices.  Serve the fruit mixture in cocktail glasses.  Put a couple of tablespoonfuls of the fruit juices over the fruit and finish with a spoonful of lemon sherbet.  A fruit cocktail may be served before a soup or in place of the soup.

GRAPE CATSUP.  Mothers’ Congress Cookbook.  1922.

5 lbs. nice ripe grapes mashed, cooked and run through the colander.  Add 1 pt. vinegar, 3 lbs. sugar, 1 tsp. ground allspice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. black pepper, ½ tsp. salt.  Boil all together until thick enough for catsup.  [Put up per modern canning instructions in small jars].


1 quart of grape juice, 1 pint of vinegar, 1 lbs. sugar, ground cloves.  [I’m adding the allspice, cinnamon, and a wee bit of pepper found in most such recipes.  I won’t be dipping my fries in this, but tonight’s project is turning a quart of my grape juice into this catsup to serve with cold meats].

GRAPE JUICE SHERBET.  “Everwoman’s Canning Book”.  1918.

1 pint grape juice, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, Juice of half an orange, 1 tablespoon granulated gelatin, 1 ½ cups boiling water, ½ cup cold water, 1 cup sugar.  Soak gelatin in cold water five minutes.  Make a syrup by boiling the sugar and hot water for fifteen minutes; then add the soaked gelatin.  Cool slightly; add grape, orange, and lemon juice.  Freeze, using a mixture of three parts ice to one of salt.

Blissful Meals, Yall, enjoy summer’s bounty.  – Vickie Brady, aka thehistoricfoodie.©  Copyright 2016.