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Monday, October 29, 2012

Free Books Available Oct 29, and Canning Grapes/Concentrated Grape Juice

To get straight to today's free prepping and self-sufficiency books, please scroll down past the first part. 
Now that it's after the 29th, please see current free books by going to P.U.V. main page.

May I suggest that you check daily so you don't miss all those available for only 24 hours?


Note for traditional or whole foods eaters, I did use white sugar for these (because I had it in the house and not enough honey.  Honey can be used for these, or nothing. Please ignore the white crystals and just user honey or nothing, or or skip down to the books!  

Yesterday I canned apples and grapes.  I took a ton of photos of the process I did, because I'm one who feels much less daunted with a project when I can visualize its setup.  Plus the fruit was so beautiful.  I'll do a more concise version at the bottom as a "recipe."

During the spring and winter, whenever I found canning jars at thrift stores or garage sales I washed and rinsed them well and replaced them in boxes that I'd lined with clean shopping bags.  That way they only needed a quick hot rinse/scald on the day.  

I was going to need lots of boiling water so I set up the kettle and this huge stock pot heating,
plus the canner with about 4 inches of water.  I've never done the cover-the-jars-completely thing, as this is how my mom always did it, and steam is hotter (or as hot as) boiling water anyway.  With that amount, it ends up 3/4 of the way up the jars.  I also started lids warming in another flatter saucepan.  If you're visual like I am, see the whole setup farther down.

I started with apples.  I found these at the local fruit co-op for 29c/lb.  I think they are "transparents" which are almost impossible to find anymore.  They are a really old variety of cooking apple.  
I used my peeler/corer/slicer and put them straight in the jars (no lemon necessary as you can finish each jar quickly)

added sugar as soon as a jar was full,  and boiling water

then put them in the canner to keep warm. I quit apples after 2 jars because it turned out the apples were too soft and kept breaking partway through the slicing process.  I will use the rest to make applesauce another day.

Now for the grapes.  I found 60 lb of these coronation grapes, with seeds, unsprayed, at a local home for 40c a lb.  
They are a table grape but the early frost made the skins tough so this was a good use for them.  My policy is making things in large quantities...extending that to its logical conclusions I need to preserve things with the least amount of fruit preparation possible.  So I researched canning grapes whole.  

Here's an official how-to from a U.S extension service:
I normally wouldn't can fruit for juice as I don't really "believe" in fruit juice.  However as these grapes had seeds I doubted we'd enjoy eating them whole as canned grapes.  I could freeze them but there'd be the same issue, plus our freezer is full, plus what if the power went out?  
We are not big juice people.  I never buy juice  But I don't have a grape spiral to strain them in my food strainer to make jam with, and apparently my model of food strainer, Kitchen Value from Home Hardware, is being discontinued and the grape spirals are no longer available.  I don't know if the grape spirals from other similar brands would fit.  If anyone knows, PLEASE PLEASE tell me!

So I found online posts about making juice by canning grapes in water and sugar, here:

I thought that maybe once the grapes were canned I could yet make jam with them as they might be soft enough to press through a regular strainer.  Maybe the seeds would even be soft enough to use the food strainer.  I also thought that for using for juice, it was a silly waste of jars and space to put 1 cup of grapes in each jar.  The concentrate recipe above called for 2 cups, so I thought I'd try some with 2 cups and some with 4 cups (full up) as a super-concentrate.  I decided to use half the called-for sugar.  I could have used honey, and if I was using my Real Foodie self I'd have used raw honey (though once it's canned it's not raw anymore, so maybe not!)  I did see a recipe somewhere for that too so it must work.

Next time I would do some with very little or no sugar at all.

So I washed and picked the grapes.  These were in nice shape without rotten ones so this was pretty straightforward.  They look just like blueberries!

I measured the grapes into the jars.   This canning funnel I found at a thrift store and loved the look of it; it looks old-fashioned and matches my canner :)  But the bottom is wide and flat so you have to shake it for everything to fall in!  Not the most practical. :(

I added the sugar. I had 2 other funnels so I had one dry and one wet, and followed on each one with boiling water.  This method was completely unnecessary.  Just pour boiling water with the same funnel if you're using a ladle from a pot, and if you're using a kettle you may not need a funnel at all.

So beautiful!!!

I also did some on the stove top. Here's the arrangement I had...
I had the rack raised up to keep the apples warm while I did the grapes.  You have to take the jars out to get the lids on anyway so there was no point in putting the grapes in there too.

The boiling water changes the colour of the top grapes.  Love it!

Wiped rims

Added warms lids and rings.

And of course, into the canner....

After the water came to the boil I timed 20 minutes.  Here are the apples coming out...

And the grapes...
See the colour has "bled" out of the grapes some.  This means the flavour is going into the juice.  Also, I've heard some wonderful things about how the red in the grape skins in red wine protects your heart.  I don't know if the heat from canning keeps that benefit....

So after many canner loads, here are 2 quarts of apples and 54 quarts of grapes.

In the photo below you can see on the left is the 2-cup version and the others are the 4-cup.
Another observation is that the two on the right look paler, because they are just out of the canner.  After a few hours or overnight the darker red on the left develops.  Interesting!

Also you can see that there's a hard layer of sugar on the bottoms.  One of the links above said that it will eventually dissolve, so I'm not worried about it.  They're all like that.  

Now we need to leave them for a while.  Some sources said a week, others said til January!  When we open one we'll pour it and press it through a strainer and dilute for juice or popsicles (my 6-year-old's insistence).  And maybe I'll be making delicious grape jam or jelly in the winter.

I do wish I'd made them with honey now, and some without any sweetener at all.  I just kind of got carried away with my old way of thinking.


Canning Grapes Whole For Fruit and/or Juice Concentrate

Sugar, Honey, or other sweetener (optional)

All your usual canning supplies and equipment: canning jars, lids and rings, hot water canner with rack, jar lifter, canning funnel
Towel for counter, clean wet cloth for wiping rims
Kettle, flat wide saucepan, large stock pot, tongs or magnetic lid lifter

Amounts per quart jar:
--For straight juice: 1 cup grapes, 1/4 cup sugar or 2 Tbsp honey
--For concentrated juice: 2 cups grapes, 1/2 to 1 cup sugar, or half that in honey
--For extra concentrated juice: 4 cups grapes, 1 or more cups sugar, or half that in honey.
--For fruit, use seedless grapes and fill jar; sweetener optional.
The amounts of sugar or honey are vague as is all down to preference.  Sugar is not needed to aid preservation.  (Also, I didn't do this as I didn't think of it, but adding a pinch of salt allows you to use less sugar for the same sweetness.  Amazing but true!)

  1. Wash canning jars with hot water and detergent, rinse with very hot tap water or boiling water.
  2. Fill pot and kettle with fresh water and set to boil; place lids for one canner load of jars in fresh water in flat saucepan and start warming; fill canner to desired height with water and start heating.
  3. Wash and de-stem grapes.
  4. Pour grapes into jars with canning funnel. 
  5. Add sweetener to each jar, if using.
  6. Fill enough of the jars for one canning load with boiling water to line below jar threads (about 1 inch)
  7. Wipe rims with very clean cloth, add warm lids and rings, tighten to finger-tight.
  8. Place in very warm or hot water on rack in canner, cover with lid and turn on high.
  9. When water in canner boils, time 20 minutes and keep water boiling for that time.
  10. Remove jars with lifter, place on towel on counter.
  11. Start a new load!
Now for today's free self-sufficiency and prepping-type books..........

Please see the sidebar at right for a quick explanation of this blog. Have fun getting new books! :)


General self-sufficiency and survival

Weekend Homesteader: August
“Twelve months to self-sufficiency! This fully updated second edition of the popular Weekend Homesteader series includes exciting, short projects that you can use to dip your toes into the vast ocean of homesteading without getting overwhelmed. If you need to fit homesteading into a few hours each weekend and would like to have fun while doing it, these projects will be right up your alley, whether you live on a forty-acre farm, a postage-stamp lawn in suburbia, or a high rise…The August volume includes the following projects: Saving seeds; Drying food; Building a chicken coop or tractor; Making a rain barrel…The second edition has been revised and expanded to match the paperback, with extra photos and feedback from weekend homesteaders just like you, plus permaculture-related avenues for

Attracting Deer To You - Deer Hunting Books

Food and Farming/Gardening

The Poverty Cookbook Part II

Naked Organics: Healthy, Made From Scratch Scones


The Cerebellum: Brain for an Implicit Self (FT Press Science)


Political Economy Simplified: A Citizen's Survival Guide

Saving for Retirement (Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery) Updated and Revised
FT Press
The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society's Descent into Tyranny

Polarshift - Genghis Khan, China and the Rise and Fall of the West

Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution

On the Precipice

True Accounts

PERSONAL EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCES: Sylmar 1971, Santa Cruz 1989, Northridge 1994

Australia: The Bombing of Darwin & One Family's Story. (One Man's War Journey)

Pulled by Horses
“In the Metfield of the 1930s you could do all of your shopping without leaving the village, have a choice of pubs and ‘spend happy evenings helping to dig potatoes and listening to the old boys.’ If this sounds too idyllic to be true, Evelyn Whiting’s charming memoir of growing up in this Suffolk community is quick to remind us that making a living from the land was hard and tedious work in those days. There was no electricity and water came from the sky, or from the pond.”


Nature or War Survival and Other Hardship

South American dictatorship/guerillas. “As events spiral out of control, can Pancho escape the nightmare – or will he become the secret police’s next victim? Soaring passions, and human frailty and strength, combine in this powerful and graphic story of courage against all the odds.”

Politics, Terrorism, and Intrigue/Conspiracy

The Last American Martyr
Very highly-reviewed author. “In this me-me twenty-first century, Thomas Soles may very well be the last American martyr. This self-described “simple man” writes a simple book that resuscitates the all-but-dead international labor movement. The response to his thoughts and perceptions are astounding. All around the globe, from pole to pole, from America to Zimbabwe, the marching footsteps of workers, young and old, tremor the earth. But not everyone is pleased. There’s a tight-knit, elitist clique that is absolutely livid over the thoughts and ideals that fill the pages of his book. And the moment Tom and his wife, Elaina, return home from Sweden, they realize just how angry this profit-hungry mob really is. Mortified by the horrid scene that awaits them inside their New York tenement, the Soles’ have no choice but to flee their longtime home. Hoping to find anonymity, they bounce all over America in an RV. But they don’t find peace. Instead they become moving targets. Everywhere they go they're followed by a succession of life-threatening events.”

“a novel that combines fact and fiction in a startling narrative of one man’s chilling transformation from orphan to international terrorist, and reflects the turmoil of today’s world.” See link for actual plot.

Unfriendly Skies
“Trans Columbia Airlines Flight 2 is under attack by a man destined to end his life and be with his beloved family. He enacts his plan with such strength and mental prowess. However, the passengers have their own weapon of choice, banding together to fight until death.”

Code Word: Paternity, A Presidential Thriller
“In a twenty-first century Pearl Harbor, nuclear terrorism takes its first city—Las Vegas—and stalks Baltimore. The terrorists have no return address—but the nuke they used does. A scientific trail scented by an ultra-secret U.S. program hidden for years behind the code word “Paternity” points toward the nation that made the bomb. … But there’s no smoking gun. Struggling to lead a divided, panicked America, wring support from uncertain allies, and blunt the opportunism of rivals, the president faces an ethical dilemma threatening his marriage, his presidency, and his very soul. As commander-in-chief, controlling nearly unfathomable power to retaliate, he can put the Armageddon genie back in the bottle—but at what cost and to whom? Ambition, conscience, and duty collide as heads of state, politicians, diplomats, and generals maneuver with the lives of millions at stake.”

Collapse, Post-Apocalypse, Speculative Futures

Desperate Times
Many reviews, so you can get a true idea of what it’s like. “Despite all the warning bells, Black Friday arrives as a devastating tidal wave that completely destroys our fragile economy in a single day. There is panic in the streets as banks close their doors, seemingly forever, at noon. Store shelves are swept bare and the gas pumps soon run dry. Jimmy Logan watches in disbelief as his world crumbles before his eyes. Luckily, he has friends who have planned ahead for this nightmarish scenario and he joins up with a group who plan to ride the storm out in northern Minnesota. Some of their group will be dead before the sun sets.”

DAY OF THE DOGS (The Aftermath Series)
“Day of the Dogs is a ‘Doomer novel.’ It not only actually tells the reader what to do to prepare for a Solar Flare, but takes you behind the scenes as individuals and groups try to deal with a civilization ending natural disaster. This natural disaster unleashes the cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, and class fault lines, not just in the USA, but all over the world.
What would you do if you really knew society would collapse in 5 days? How would people around you react; how would India or Pakistan react if they knew their nuclear weapons would be useless in 5 days? Day of the Dogs not asks these types of questions: it answers them.
Day of the Dogs is the Uber Doomer novel written by the man who has had the Internet handle of Doomer Doug for nearly 15 years now. Nobody does doom like Doomer Doug, and Day of the Dogs shows why! The glass isn't half full; it isn't half empty: it is full of gasoline vapors and about to explode!”

Arena One: Slaverunners (PART ONE) (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy)
“New York. 2120. American has been decimated, wiped out from the second Civil War. In this post-apocalyptic world, survivors are far and few between. And most of those who do survive are members of the violent gangs, predators who live in the big cities. They patrol the countryside looking for slaves, for fresh victims to bring back into the city for their favorite death sport: Arena One… …a post-apocalyptic, action-packed thriller, as the two of them pursue the slaverunners on the most dangerous ride of their lives, following them deep into the heart of New York. “

The Mind That Father Made
“The Soviets have come and they have conquered all of Europe. Communist Britain is a hard place to live and Roman Borodin's world just got harder. He wakes up with no recollection of who he is, just 2 strange messages tattooed on his body…”

The Right Path (Apocalyptic Novelette) (Dark Future Series)
“YA post-apocalyptic tale. Fifteen-year-old Abraham "Ham" Jones, a cripple, and Zia Slate, a fourteen-year-old tomboy with an attitude, find themselves unlikely partners in this post-apocalyptic tale of survival. It is decades later since the world blew itself apart. Life is harsh, gangs rule the streets, the system cops keep the peace anyway they can. Being a kid in this world isn't easy, being a cripple is about the worst sentence handed down. Being a girl with no protection is only slightly better. “

Short. “Great tornadoes affected the Northern part of the USA. Tsunami made a series of victims in Hawaii. Due to climate change, unusual high temperatures caused wildfires. NASA confirms there will be a shift pole on the 21th of December 2012…”


“He had to keep moving, that the man instinctively knew. He had to get away, from the rioting, the lawlessness, the killing. Away from the brutal gangs that ruled the highways. Then there was the boy that he found along the way, an orphan with no place to go. He couldn’t leave the child behind; that would be murder. Together they had to make their way across the razed landscape of post collapse America, west to where there was safety, a chance to begin again. If only they survived the journey.”
Previous Price: $2.99 (according to book-watching program I use)
Current Price: $.99

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  1. I have canned lots of things but I haven't tried grapes. Will be using this info for sure! Thanks for linking it up with the Wicked Good Wednesday Blog Party.

  2. i would have never thought to can grapes - very clever!

    thank you for sharing with the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I looks forward to seeing you again this week with more wonderful seasonal & fresh/real food posts. xo, kristy.

  3. Hi, Well if you skip the sugar, you will not have anything to perserve the fruit. Both sugar and salt are what keeps the fruit from going bad. And I also use a lil baking soda in the lid bath. It softens the rubber, ensuring a good seal!

  4. Hi Shavanna and thanks for stopping by! In all my reading, the sugar helps keep the colour and texture, but is not necessary for keeping it from going bad. The acid in the fruit does that.

    Thanks for the tip about the baking soda. :) Great to know! especially for that Brand of Lids that WILL NOT SEAL.

  5. Sugar is not necessary topreserve the fruit, it helps color, flavor, and texture. It is the heat processing which preserves the food, by killing the germs that cause fruit to go bad. To prevent the layer of white sugar at the bottom, put a little hot water in the bottom of the jar, add your sugar, and swirl around for a bit to dissolve the sugar. Then add fruit and the rest of the water. The white layer of sugar takes forever to dissolve, plus it concentrates the heat at the bottom of the jar, so increases the risk of jar breakage.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Vicki, and for the tip about the sugar layer. I knew you could make a syrup separately first but that's another step. I don't know if swishing would work with the larger amounts of sugar (the super concentrate could have a cup or two, depending on preference) but certainly with the ones with only 1/4 cup or so. Worth experimenting. Unless you already have and know it works with more.

      Thanks again! :)

  6. Thanks for the step by step process of canning grapes! Found you featured on Wicked Good Wednesday :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Lisa Lynn. I just got back to Wicked Good Wednesday today and realized with a start that there was my post featured! :) I hope it inspires you to try it--it was the easiest canning I have ever done! :)


  7. What do you do with the grapes after you drink the juice?

    1. If the grapes were seedless I would use them for something. Truthfully I haven't even opened a jar yet, they are so well stored away! But I know the kids would love to eat it plain or maybe even as a jam. My canned grapes have seeds, so I will press them very well through a strainer to get all pulp possible, then probably won't be able to do anything else with them.