Steam Juicing Grapes and Other Fruits

America’s favorite juice and jelly grape, the Concord, is ripe now. Extracting a clear juice from grapes or any fruit for a jelly or juice can be a daunting task. A steam juicer makes juicing fruit easy and results in a clear juice ready for making jelly or saving the juice. The prep work is minimal; steam does all the work.

Steam juicers are a four-part stacked cooking unit–a water reservoir bottom pan, a middle collection pan with a funnel opening in the center, a steam basket pan, and a lid. Water is placed in the bottom pan and boiled gently. As it boils, steam funnels up through the hole in the middle pan and heats the fruit in the steam basket pan. The lid prevents the steam from escaping. As the fruit heats, the fruit releases its juice which drips down through the holes in the steam basket and collects in the middle pan. As the collection pan fills, the juice begins to run out of the unit through a silicon tube on the front of the middle collection pan into a heatproof vessel placed below the unit. The juice is clear, free of pulp, and is ready to drink, gel, can, or freeze after it comes out of the steamer. So easy!

The steamer saves so much time and effort. For a step-by-step ‘how to’, see Steam Juicing: Extracting the Juice,, by UCCE Master Food Preservers of El Dorado County, CA. There is no chance of over steaming the fruit; one just needs to be mindful of keeping sufficient water in the lower pot so that it doesn’t boil dry.  Extraction is complete when the fruit has completely collapsed; it is a good idea to let the collapsed fruit sit for awhile after steaming as juice will continue to be released. If there is a need to move on with another batch, the collapsed fruit can be placed in a colander on the counter and allowed to drain while steaming goes on with additional batches.

While many internet sites suggest that the juice can be drained right into hot sterilized canning jars, capped, and left to cool on the counter, this is not a safe practice. To be shelf safe, fruit juices need to be processed in a hot water bath. (See directions: National Center for Home Food Preservation, Jelly can be made directly from the extracted juice. The juice may also be frozen for future use. Sugar may be added prior to canning or freezing, if desired.

Just about any type of fruit works with a steam juicer; cherries, plums, apricots, blueberries, cranberries, apples, and pears are just some suggestions. Fruits like apples or pears should be cut in half before steaming while all small fruits can be left whole. Steam juicers can also be used to extract juice from vegetables. When not being used for juicing, the bottom pan makes a great cooking vessel and when combined with the steam basket, it becomes a great steamer for steaming vegetables and other food items or steam blanching vegetables before freezing.

Some fruit and vegetable juices do well to sit for a period before using or preserving to allow any sediment to settle. Grapes, in particular, are prone to tartrate crystal formation. To learn more about preventing tartrate crystals, see Preventing Crystals in Grape Jelly, Jam, Syrup, and Juice,

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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16 thoughts on “Steam Juicing Grapes and Other Fruits

  1. Thank you for this great post. I have been loving my Mehu-Maija steam juicer for 30 years, but all this time I was never 100% sure if those grape stems might not be toxic, so I would pick the grapes off them first. You reassured me, and I am in the middle of a day of grape harvest and have saved a lot of time not plucking the grapes! Love that steam juicer.

  2. Heather, thank you for your positive feedback. Steam juicers do indeed make juicing much faster.

  3. I love this article..especially the way you have introduced us to stream juicers. I have never heard about stream juicer before. thanks a lot.

  4. Thank you for the information. I just bought my first steam juicer after spending the last two years struggling with regular juicers that gave just worn me out. My husband told me I was going to have to bust every little grape and I told there was no way i was spending hours doing that! The steamer would do the work for me so here is my proof. My family and friends love my jellies but I won’t last if I wear out in the making. Your knowledge has saved me! Thank you again!

  5. Myrna, thank you so much for your positive feedback. The steam juicer has been my lifesaver! I hope the same will be true for you as well.

  6. Marlene, great article. I process grapes for jelly but have not used a steam juicer. It looks like a HUGE labor saver (work smarter not harder). There are numerous brands of steamers. What steamer do you use?
    I would like to purchase before my harvest.
    (I also would like to use for elderberries!)
    Tom Rentschler
    Larchwood, IA

  7. Thank you for the feedback. I will reply directly to you via email as it is not the policy of AnswerLine or Iowa State Extension and Outreach to endorse or recommend a specific product.

  8. Hi Suzanne, I don’t have any personal experience to offer for lemons or citrus fruit. However, from reading, citrus is carefully washed, cut in half or quarters, and steamed. I found nothing on the need to peel.

  9. I made 22 x liter jars of apples and pears. I boiled for 10 minutes but I didn’t fully immerse in the boiling water. All the jars are well sealed. Are they safe? If not what should I do to rescue all my fruit?

  10. Hi Ann, for your jars of fruit to be shelf-stable, they must be fully immersed in water with at least 1 inch of water above the tops in a water bath canner or as directed in a steam canner. Sealed jars are not safe jars if the processing has not been done correctly. You can reprocess within 24 hrs or freeze the fruit.

  11. What can you do with the grapes after stream juicing? I saved mine because they still tasted great after juicing them. They still had pulp and some were very soft and collapsed, but still intact. Did I not go far enough? I got three and a half quarts from 4 lbs of grapes. I’ve read that apples can be turned into applesauce or fruit leather after, but can’t find a recipe for steamed grapes.

  12. Hi Carolyn, I compost my grape pulp after steaming since the pulp is a combination of skin, stems, seeds, and broken down flesh. I do save the pulp from raspberries and use it in baked goods. It would be possible to do the same with apples and pears if seeds, stems, and perhaps peel is removed prior to steaming or as you suggest applesauce, fruit leather, or apple butter. Any of these products may lack some flavor as it has been leached into the juice.

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