Unfermented Communion Wine Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, September 20, 1914: <<no entry>>

communion cups a

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought you might enjoy this recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old central Pennsylvania cookbook for unfermented communion wine.

Grandma attended a Baptist church—and 1914 was the era  right before prohibition when the temperance movement was at its peak—so my guess is that her church used grape juice (or “unfermented communion wine”) for communion.

Unfermented Communion Wine

Stem fifteen pounds grapes, boil in three quarts water until they come to pieces, then press out the juice, add four and one-half pounds of sugar, boil, skin and can or bottle the same as fruit.

Lycoming Valley Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church Trout Run PA (1907) reprinted by Williamsport Printing and Binding Co. (1992)

16 thoughts on “Unfermented Communion Wine Recipe

  1. They definitely would have used grape juice. Although some churches do use an alcoholic wine, most would follow the example of the Last Supper which would have used unfermented grape juice since leaven was forbidden during passover.

  2. I grew up in Central PA (not far from Trout Run) and we always used real wine. Our minister even made it sometimes. Maybe that was why we did not have communion until we were 18. In the South we have grape juice and every age takes communion.

    1. It’s interesting that youth didn’t get communion until they were 18. I can remember church members at the Lutheran church that I attended when I was a child having a vigorous discussion about whether to use grape juice or wine for communion.

  3. I grew up Catholic – we used the wafers, and the first time I attended the Presbyterian church with my husband I thought they were using real wine!! Lets just say I am thankful that today we go out and buy our grape juice, it sure sounded like a lot of work to do for communion. We sure are the lazy generation! 🙂 Nice to see another local gal on your website!

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