On our first big project day, we thought we would start with something easy - making fresh verjuice. This is unfermented grape juice, usually from underripe grapes to produce one that has tang rather than sweetness. We chose this project early on because we needed to get to the grapes in Muirghein's back yard before they ripened. This ended up being a much bigger effort than we thought, and gave us a new appreciation for this ingredient.

Based on an estimate of 5 kilos of grapes for about a litre of verjuice, we started with picking enough grapes, then getting them off the stem. From here we needed to juice them. While we tried the food mill, it just couldn't process the grapes - they were too big, and often too solid.
We fell back on crushing them with our fingers, and also tried pressing them through a seive. While both were effective, they weren't getting the juice out efficiently. At this point we fell back on putting the partially squashed grapes into some cooking muslin, and squeezing the juice out. This was more effective, but still left some grapes almost in tact. However given this was now about 3 hours into the process, we decided that was good enough!

At this point we wanted to clarify the verjuice, as there was a lot of sediment. We strained it through a linen cloth (a tea towel that was sacrificed for the job, and the verjuice came out reasonable clear (the tea towel will never be the same). Our hands were quite stained with the process also. But in the end our verjuice looked pretty good, and we stored some in a jar to settle, and froze some. Both will be tried later to see how they have fared. The final photo in the series above shows (left to right) strained verjuice,  unstrained verjuice, and commercial verjuice for comparison.

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