Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grape Jam (vesus Jelly)

You thought I was done canning, didn't you?  Not quite.

When you drive around in our area and see an old farmhouse, more than likely you will see a grape arbor not far from it.  Our old farmhouse had two arbors years ago- one on either side of it.  One arbor held green grapes and the other purple- concord, I assume.  Unfortunately, they are no longer here.  The old farmhouse two doors down from us has it's original arbor and it produces heavily each year.  And, do you know what concord grapes like?  Dry weather.  Perfect.

I've been waiting for these beauties all year.  Our strawberries didn't yield as we had hoped, so I only made one batch of jam.  I made some peach jam when we canned peaches, but our trees aren't producing enough peaches for us yet, so I have to buy them.  This is why I was making mint jelly this year and keeping my fingers crossed that we'd get grapes, too.  Mint and grapes are free!

Grape jelly recipes require you to send your pulp/juice through a cheesecloth to get that lovely, clear jelly look.  Grape jam recipes suggest you dice up the skins and throw them in.  I wanted an in-between.  I didn't want to mess with cheesecloth (and waste all that good pulp) and I didn't want to have to chew my jam (because of the skins).  The compromise I made isn't rocket science, so maybe you all do this, too.  But, in case you don't, here is a way to make your (hopefully free) grapes go further and use more of their grape-y goodness.

Concord Grape Jam
If you haven't canned much before, please read this before starting.  I multiplied this recipe by four, so that is why my amounts will look different than yours.
Yields 8-9 half pints.

4 cups grape juice with pulp (no seeds or skins- see below), about 3 pounds of washed, de-stemmed Concord grapes
7 cups sugar (jam is jam, my friends)
1 pouch liquid pectin

Place your washed, de-stemmed grapes into a large sauce pan.  Mash with a potato masher or large fork so that most of the skins slip off the the grapes.  Bring to a boil, stirring often, then simmer for about 15 minutes until grapes are soft.

 Your house will smell amazing.  Transfer 2-3 cups of cooked grapes at a time to your food mill set over a large bowl.

 Skins and seeds on left, food mill over bowl to catch juice/pulp on right.

Turn the mill to extract the pulp and juice.  Repeat until all the grapes are "milled".  Discard (or feed to your chickens) the skins and seeds.  Measure your juice and pulp carefully to 4 cups.

 Look at the color!

Place the 4 cups of juice/pulp back into your large saucepan.  Stir in the sugar.  Place on high heat, stir constantly, and bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

Add the pectin and heat again to a rolling boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, skim off the foam (if you care- I don't).  Pour into sterilized hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

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  1. It looks like we might get just enough grapes to make a nice little batch of jam this year. I think I might use this fine recipe of yours.:)

  2. I just canned grape juice concentrate yesterday! Unfortunately I didn't get nearly as much as I'd hoped (only 7 quarts). We have a steamer that made the work so easy. But, I did kind of lament all that wonderful pulp going to waste.

    Your jam looks beautiful!

  3. That looks so good...and beautiful! I'm so envious of abandoned grape arbors!

  4. I just bought a 1/2 bushel of concord grapes last week - I'll be posting about it soon. We love grape jam here! We processed ours similarly to yours - but I have a juicer so after we boiled it down we ran it through the juicer - it still has some pulp texture but smooth.

    Our chickens love it when we can! :)

  5. These look so good!! What a blessing to be able to get them for free!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Have a wonderfully blessed day!
    - MJP

  6. This looks AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing!! XXOO, Damaris

  7. Glad to see articles on fun stuff like canning and your garden (maybe not fun for you after months of doing it). Also, one blogger once said that her mom told her to pinch the immature strawberry fruit off the vine the first year you plant them. It encourages strong roots for the coming years. She said it worked great for her when the fruit came in strong the following year. I hesitate to suggest this to you though b/c that means waiting 2 years for your next strawberries and who wants to wait that long??

  8. My mouth is watering. I never liked grape jelly. I LOVE grape jam. Yours looks delicious.

  9. I bet your kitchen smelled like Heaven must smell. Love that warm grape smell.

  10. I'm making grape jelly this week! Looking forward to it!

  11. I'm right with you....I avoid cheesecloth at all time! Thank goodness for the foodmill. And quite honestly, I like the cloudy look to the grape jelly - it helps people to remember that it's homemade! And oh, the taste. Yumm!

  12. I made grape jelly for the first time this year. A friend of ours who runs a community garden got 40+ lbs of concords this year and we did a marathon canning session (over 100 4oz jars!). I have a juicer, so we ran the grapes though that before cooking the juice and pulp together for about 15 minutes and then straining out the pulp and making the jelly. We just called it "rustic" grape jelly since it wasn't clear. It was absolutely delicious, although tooth-achingly sweet.
    I can't imagine the headache of straining it to get a clear jelly, definately not worth the effort.

  13. *sigh*

    This made me tear up a bit - reminding me of the fantastic grape jam my grandmother would make... smearing on top of peanut butter with big chunks of skin to add that little burst of tart to the sweet.

    Thanks for bringing back that memory!

  14. You can add a tiny bit of butter to the pot when it starts to boil. This will help keep it from foaming up. You may still get some foam (very little if any) and it won't change the taste at all.

  15. Do you still use this recipe of 4 cups juice/pulp and 7 c. sugar.... I was wondering if you found any recipes that used less sugar since this is from several years ago.


    1. I made so much of this jam the last time I made it that I am not planning on making any this year. The next time I do, I will cut back the sugar, although I'm not sure how far. If you find a good, lower-sugar version, please come back and let me know!:-)

  16. Hope this finds someone -- I used this recipe and apparently used the wrong grapes.... Now I have 9 half pints of grape 'syrup'.... Anyone have any suggestions what I could do with it?

    1. Hmm. I'm curious as to what kind of grapes you used:-). Sometimes my jam is runnier initially than other times but it sets up over time. If waiting doesn't help, you could always use it over waffles or pancakes (like maple syrup) or drizzle it over vanilla ice cream. Best of luck!

  17. Thank you so much for posting this. I couldn't find any grape jam recipes that used just the pulp without the skin. It was easy which is excellent.

  18. I just moved I to a farm house and noticed the grapes in the back yard. I picked them and I'm totally going to try this Jam! Thank you for posting!


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