Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to make grape jelly:

I've been saying for the last 2 weeks that I need to make some jelly from the grapes that grow wild on our property, so I finally took the time to make some & I thought I would share the process with those of you that are interested.

The first thing you will need to do is wash the grapes really well to get any little critters, like gnats or spiders off.  Then put the whole grape cluster (stem and all) into a large pot.  If you are using highly acidic grapes, like these wild "Mustang" grapes that I am using, you will need to use a stainless steel pot, not aluminum.  Really pack the grapes in there, then add water just until it covers the grapes.  Put a lid on it and wait for it to boil, once it starts boiling, remove the lid & let simmer for about 5-10 minutes. 

Once the grapes have boiled, mash them a little with a potato masher to remove any juice from the remaining grapes.  Set a colander inside a large bowl and pour the entire contents of the pot into the colander.  Lift out the colander and you will have the remaining juice.  I just double strain this juice through a regular wire strainer into another bowl, but some people like to have really clear jelly & you can use a cheesecloth or jelly bag to remove any cloudiness in the juice.  I think just straining it works fine.  Here is the recipe I use to make grape jelly, I only made one batch today, even though I have lots of juice.  You can choose to double this recipe, depending on how much jelly you want to make, just make sure you have enough sugar and pectin to double.

Grape Jelly:

5 C. of prepared juice
7 C. of sugar
1 box of Sure-Jell or other pectin made according to the box directions

Measure exact amount of prepared juice into cooking pot.  Add one box of Sure-Jell, mixing well until dissolved.  Bring juice to a full rolling boil (this is a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred), on high heat, stirring often.  Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl (do not use less sugar that what is called for, or your jelly will not set, if you want to make reduced sugar jelly, you must use a reduced sugar pectin).  When juice is at a full rolling boil, add the sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, skim off any foam.  Carefully ladle hot liquid into clean canning jars, wipe any jelly spilled on the rim or threads and tightly screw on lids and ring bands.  Set jars to the side to cool, lids should seal when completely cooled. 

Add sugar when juice & pectin are at a full rolling boil.

The finished product.  You can double or triple this recipe to make more than just 4 pints.  I had a little left in the pot that the kids & I ate on bread after I filled the jars.  These make great additions to gift baskets for the holidays. 

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