Grape Jelly Time

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Around here in SC we are wrapping up grape picking season. You have another week or so to get yourself (and your kids!) out there picking the lovely muscadine grapes that are growing right on the vine.

After you come home with them, you’ll want to be sure to make the easiest jelly on earth out of ’em. This is my favorite preserve to make, because there is no hulling, cutting, dicing, getting the seeds out, milling, peeling, etc… that comes along with strawberry jelly, apple jelly, cherry, etc. I guess it’s about equal to making my other favorite preserve, blueberry jam.

This isn’t my recipe by any means… it’s straight from the 100% natural Sure Jell Pectin box. But it is easy and super fast, and if you don’t live near a grape picking farm, it is easy enough to just use bulk (hopefully organic) grapes from a good sale at the grocery store or even a bottle of grape juice. Honestly, if you use a bottle of grape juice, this jam will be made in under 5 minutes flat.

I like to do it from scratch, because we live 15 minutes from a grape picking farm and because I enjoy it. But still, from scratch, this can’t take me more then 15 minutes to get them into the how water bath canner.

1. Pick your grapes or otherwise collect 5 cups of juice. I brought home one huge bushel of grapes and there was about twice as much grape juice as I needed. If you are getting your grape juice from the store, you’ll need 5 cups worth of juice, so one bottle should be plenty. Skip to step 5 if using bottled grape juice.

2. Rinse grapes and pile them in a large pot. Crush them with a potato masher a few times, add about 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.

4. Place cheesecloth into a large bowl, and pour the grape smooshed mixture into the bowl. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and lift, allowing the juice to drain into the bowl. You now have your fresh. locally sourced grape juice!

5. Measure 5 cups of juice and place that back into the large stockpot. Stir in one box of pectin and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.

6. Stir in 7 cups of sugar (have pre-measured out and waiting in a bowl to dump in all at once) and continue to stir for one full minute at a rolling boil.

7. Ladle into clean jars, leaving about one inch of space at the top of each jar. Cover with lids. Place in water bath canner (or, don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I just flip my jars upside down and the heat from the boiling juice processes the lid. I’ve never had a problem with the lids sealing. I only do this when using a boiling hot liquid… if pickling or using simmered (not boiling) tomato sauce, etc… I always process in the water canner.) Remove from water canner and place upright on a towel to cool. I usually just leave them untouched overnight to cool.

8. Double check that all of your jars have sealed correctly by pushing down on the middle of the lid with your finger, taking care to ensure that the lid is firmly suctioned down and does not pop. If any have not sealed correctly, put into fridge and use immediately.

Why go through this trouble when you can just buy some grape jam at the store?

Yep, that’s cream cheese and homemade grape jam on a bagel. Need I say more? xoxo, Laura