Going Grape

Last night I decided to embark on a new adventure, making and canning jelly. The concord grape vine in my back yard is ripe with fruit and each time this year I get the itch to do something with it. Sometimes I snack on the grapes while gardening or mowing, there is nothing like fresh concord grapes! The only drawback is they have lots of tiny seeds, so when your finished eating your teeth are packed full! Your pearly whites are more like pearly purples!

There are only 4 ingredients needed in making jam and jelly; fruit, sugar, water and pectin which is a natural product derived from apples. The first step is to pick your fruit. I will be making jelly since I will be removing the seeds and chunks of fruit. A good *rule of thumb* (enter Boondock Saints flash back) is a pound of grapes will yield almost a cup of juice. I used 5lbs of grapes because the recipe called for 5C of juice. You can also purchase concord grape juice and make jelly that way. I prefer to do things the old fashion way, and besides, if you can’t make a huge sticky mess then what’s the fun in it! 🙂

After the grapes have been washed and weighed it is time to crush them to release the juice. I use a potato masher, you can also place them in a food processor.

Place the mashed grapes on the stove and bring to a slow boil, this will help to breakdown the grapes and release more juice. You can also give them another mash at this time.
Once the grapes have cooked, approximately 10 minutes, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl through cheese cloth or you can use a jelly strainer for a clearer result. The left over mash can be composted, which I did.

Once the juice has been extracted from the mashed grapes place it back into a large pot and add pectin mixed with about 1/4C sugar and bring to a boil. It will take the mixture 5-10 minutes to reach a hard boil, the kind that can not be stirred away. Add the remaining sugar, stir and boil hard for one minute. I used the no or low sugar pectin because it cuts the amount of sugar used by half!

While my juice was simmering on the stove I started boiling a large pot of water to sterilize my canning jars. You can use unsterilized jars but you have to process them for 10 minutes instead of 5, which can result a runny jelly.

Once my jars were ready I ladled in the hot jelly leaving 1/4″ – 1/2″ head space and processed in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.

After it was all said and done I ended up with 8 pint jars of fresh homemade ORGANIC Grape Jelly! YUMMY!!!!

I had a bit of grape juice left over, so I bottled it to enjoy later. There is nothing like the taste of fresh squeezed juice! I think I may have to can some juice later this week as well!

While cleaning up I noticed the juice separating into several colors which started my wheels spinning…I may just have to try experimenting with natural dyes sooner than later!


1 Comment

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One response to “Going Grape

  1. Oooh, that bagel looks good!

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