It seems that suddenly, everything is ready! I was canning corn like mad when Alisha texted me and said she’d like to come over so I could show her how to juice her grapes with our Mehu Liisa steam juicer. Of course, I said “yes” and got another batch of corn ready for the canner as I knew it would take her over an hour to get here. Boy, have we ever got corn canned up now! The last batch I did was Calico or Mexican corn, which is made with dices of red and green sweet peppers in it. We like it in a wide variety of recipes, and I was running low in the pantry. I had just finished taking it out of the pressure canner when Alisha arrived.

Boy, did she have a nice grape harvest, despite the drought. (And she couldn’t water the grape vines either as she has no running water.) She brought two big dish pans full. We set about putting the Mehu Liisa together and filling the fruit container with grapes. One pan completely filled it, so we did two batches. It’s so cool to watch the jar catching the trickle of hot juice All in all, she ended up with seven quarts of beautiful juice It smells so wonderful too!

Alisha loved learning to juice grapes with the Mehu Liisa.

I’ve been continuing to pull in corn, string it up to finish drying, then basket after basket of various tomato varieties to save seeds from. The Sand garden is starting to look red from all the tomatoes. We’re really grateful to have this harvest, despite the drought.

Our grandson, Mason, with the big Gete-okosomin squash.

This year, we planted an old Native squash, originally from Wisconsin, Gete-okosomin, in the Wolf garden. I did plant it in the North garden two years ago and I was not impressed. Not a big harvest; only two squash, and the flavor was only so-so (in fairness, it was a little immature). But holy cow, this year, those squash are huge! Will picked one, not the largest squash, to take down to my son, Bill’s birthday get together on Sunday. I thought it would be fun for the grandkids. Yep, they were impressed, alright. We had a wonderful day, although way too short. Delilah was loving Ava’s chicken but I’m not sure if she wanted to pet it or put its head in her mouth as she’s teething.

Delilah was fascinated with Ava’s chicken.

— Jackie

15 COMMENTS

  1. My mom passed on to me her Mehu Maija stainless steel Juicer, Steamer Cooker. It was manufactured by ALU in Finland. I think she bought it back in the 80’s. It looks a lot like your Mehu Liisa. I couldn’t do without it for juicing, blanching & steaming.

    • Yep, you can them just like pumpkin. If you let them cure in a warm place, like the corner of your bedroom, for a month, the flavor will be much better.

  2. Some tips on steaming grapes;
    Leave the grapes on the stems. The stems help the steam permeate the grape clusters.
    No need to empty the basket, just keep piling the new grapes on top as the old ones cook down. Once the cooked-down mass has reached the top of the steam holes in the basket stir the mass and pull it away from the sides. Look for and expose grapes that haven’t broken down. We’ve processed over 20 pounds of grapes before emptying the basket.
    If working on a stove top, open the oven and put a rack on the top level. This makes the perfect height shelf to set your jar on. A stainless mixing bowl with a towel in it on the oven rack makes a great place to set the jar to catch spills and contain the mess in case you break a jar.
    Before you start, measure how much liquid your steamer holds before it starts to run out the tube. This is useful to know so you can tip the steamer to get the last quart clear full. Ours holds three cups. Now add a pint of water and mark the outside of the steamer with a Sharpie. Add another pint and another mark. Now add enough to fill the steamer to nearly running over into the lower pan and make another mark. this is your NEVER EXCEED mark!! Now you can use the hose like a sight glass to see when you have a full pint or quart of juice to pour off.
    McMaster-Carr sells the silicone hose used on your steamer. Buy a length and cut a piece long enough that you can hang it by the pinch valve from the handle of the steamer without it kinking. This makes the hose a passive sight glass. If it kinks it doesn’t work as well. Make sure the pinch valve doesn’t completely seal the hose or it won’t work for a sight glass either.
    We get approximately one pint of juice per one pound of grapes, depending on variety. The steamer dilutes the juice slightly but it is still stronger-flavored than commercial juice and we usually cut it with a bit of water anyway.
    Our friends put a few marbles in the lower pan to monitor water level. When you can hear the marbles rattling you need to add water. For some reason our steamer makes a terrible buzzing noise with the marbles whether full or not, so this may or may not work for you. DON”T run low on water!! We check/fill ours between every twenty minutes to half hour. Keep a pan of hot water to add to the steamer to keep production up.
    Pour off the first pint or so of juice and pour it back into the steamer over the grapes. It is usually a little more diluted since the steam was condensing before the grapes started breaking down. This helps sterilize the tubing and seems to jump-start the grapes breaking down.
    We use our water-bath canner to heat and sterilize the jars. Once the juice level is up to the one quart line take a jar from the canner, pour the water out of it, put it on the towel in the mixing bowl and pour off a quart of juice. Clean the rim, put a lid and a band on it and set it aside. Simple!! Since everything is sterilized at this point there is no need for further processing. As the jars cool they will seal just as if canned.
    Grape juice will lose its clarity and change color as it cools. This is natural and okay.
    We put up 50 quarts of grape juice last year and will have more than that this year.
    Fun fact; some varieties, (Canadice, Reliance, others??), form crystals in the bottom of the jar. This is tartaric acid and is the base for cream of tartar.

  3. So nice to see Alisha. Good people have good things happen aka grapes despite drought and inability to water.
    Who knows what was going through Delilah’s mind lol.. She’s happy and engaged, what more can you ask for? Ava’s happy she’s no longer the “baby” and I’m sure she’ll show Delilah the ropes.
    Still harvesting paste and slicing tomatoes. We are no where near our normal frost (which is good and bad IMHO) so I suspect only a few tomatoes will be left when frost date gets close. Given the mucked up mess called 2020/2021, we should all be happy with whatever harvest we had. Will be an early corn/bean harvest in my area. Most got at least 3 cuttings of hay, some got more despite being below average rainfall wise. For the most part, county/area has good soil which I’m sure helped.
    Garlic should be here meaning next year’s garden will soon be officially underway. We are flush with wood (ready to split as well as seasoning) due to a cohesive/help each other out neighborhood. We don’t have corn maze but we have a decent wood maze!

    • Wood is a wonderful thing. When all seems wrong in the news, we always say “Plant more beans and cut more firewood.”. These are things we CAN do something about as opposed to world events that we can do nothing about.
      We’re very happy with our huge harvest despite the drought and heat.
      Delilah loves all animals and tries to touch every one of them. Ava and Mason are always very helpful in showing her the ropes, from the swing to chickens.

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