Friday, June 30, 2017

Mom's Grape Juice

  People ask me all the time, "where did you learn how to cook?" or "did you go to a culinary school?" And the answer is always the same: I learned from my Mom. Seriously, the only cooking classes I've ever had were watching my Mom work her magic in the kitchen on a daily basis when I was growing up. Not only did she make everything taste AMAZING, (like, seriously, I'm not even kidding), but also she was absolutely brilliant when it came to stretching a meal. With 11 hungry children to feed, she had to find ways to get as much bang for her buck as possible. So believe me when I tell you it was nothing short of sorcery how she could take one small chicken and turn it into enough stew to feed the entire family. Or she'd take one little packet of dried beef, and suddenly there's breakfast for everyone. Crazy right?
 So imagine it's a hot summer day, and we're all outside playing with the neighborhood kids and riding our bikes, etc. Then we'd come home dying of thirst and wanting something to drink. Most times, Mom would give us a tall glass of her home made iced tea, but other times it was this grape juice. But here's the thing.. instead of constantly buying bottles of fruit juice (which can be expensive when it all adds up) she would use this recipe to turn one pitcher of juice into two. Clever, huh? Its brilliance is in its simplicity. And frankly, I think this tastes better than the original. And suddenly our thirsts were quenched and we were all running back outside for the next neighborhood game of kickball. She always told us she did it this way because the flavor of the bottled juice was too concentrated, but really she was just getting as much out of it as she possibly could. I swear someone should have just followed my Mom around and taken notes.
 So give this a try if you have a gang of kids who are constantly asking for more juice, or if you just like to stretch a buck. Add this to the neverending list of amazing things my Mom did for us!

2 qts Welch's grape juice
2 qts cold water
1 cup sugar
1 orange

Stir together the juice and water. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Add the juice of the orange, and then slice the orange and float the slices in the pitcher. Chill or serve over ice. It's best when it's served ice cold on a hot summer day! Oh, and one more thing... the best part is when the juice is gone and you eat the orange slices!  OMG SO good!!

 My sister, Cathy, remembered that Mom did this with lemons instead of oranges. My Jeanie remembered that she used peaches. I absolutely specifically remember her using oranges, but I have no doubt that she probably also used lemons and peaches at one time or another. She made use out of what she had available! Words to live by! If you decide to use lemons, just be sure to remove the lemon slices from the pitcher after a few hours because they can make the juice too bitter.
Not a fan of Welch's? Use your favorite brand!

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