Two years ago I packed up my belongings and moved out. I said farewell to a mushroom-growing dirt basement floor, 250 year-old drafty peg windows, and a glorious concord grapevine. I never realized just how much I would miss those grapes!
While strolling though my favorite farmers’ market last September, I came across a stand that had fresh, locally grown concord grapes. Knowing just how amazing homemade grape jelly is (it is the only jelly I will eat) I had to buy them! Besides, if my brother found out I passed up an opportunity to make his all-time favorite jelly, I’d probably never see my niece again!!
Concord Grape Jelly – yields 7 half-pints
5-1/2 cups grape juice. A good rule-of-thumb is one pound of grapes will yield one cup of juice.
3-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
3 Tbsp low-sugar flex batch pectin
Place washed, de-stemmed grapes into a stainless-steel pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Here is a little insider tip: freeze the grapes before making your jelly. Why you ask? When you freeze fruit it breaks their cell structure, which aids in releasing juice. This is also a good way to store in-season fruit for jam/jelly making later in the season, which is what I did. Once the grapes have begun to boil reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the grapes are cooking I gently mash them with a potato masher.
When your grapes have finished simmering, carefully pour them into a jelly bag and allow the juice to drip into a large bowl. It may take several hours for all 5-1/2 cups to be extracted. Should you find yourself becoming impatient, you can speed the process along by gently squeezing the bag; however, this will most likely result in a cloudy jelly. Place the juice on the stove over med-high heat. Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and add it to the juice; bring the jelly mixture to a hard boil. Add the remaining sugar, stir, and boil hard for one minute. Ladle jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Allow jars to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.
Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge.