When a friend gives you 5 lbs of grapes from their vines - you make Grape Jelly of course! But you can also make it from grape juice from the store!
It really is pretty simple so it is a great way to get initiated in the jelly or jam making world.
You want enough grapes to produce 4 cups of liquid. Juiciness will vary by grape variety so you may need to add a bit of water or grape juice. I added ½ cup of red wine but you would never know. A bit of grape juice on hand is probably the best bet to retain full grape flavour.
You are going to simmer the grapes till the skins break open and the structure breaks down. A bit of a potato masher helps this process along!
Then you are going to drain the juice from the grapes. This will take a few hours so it might just be easiest to let the grapes drain overnight and make your jelly the next day.
The jelly part is quite easy as long as you don't mess with the ratios. Don't reduce the sugar or your jam may not/won't set or gel. You have to use a special pectin type for low sugar recipes.
The jelly will keep 3 months sealed in the fridge, up to a year frozen and indefinitely with a 10 minute water bath.
- 1 canner optional
- 7 half pint jars with lids and screw bands
- 4 lbs grapes enough to produce 4 cups of juice
- ½ cup water
- 4 cups grape juice from above grapes or store bought grape juice will work too.
- 6 ¾ cups sugar
- 170 ml liquid pectin about 5.75 oz
- ½ teaspoon butter
Preparing the Grapes
- Remove grapes from their stems and wash well. Put grapes and ½ cup of water in a large pot. Mash grapes slightly with a potato washer to break some skins.
- Bring grapes to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam occasionally.
- While grapes are simmering, line a large collander with cheese cloth. Collander should be large enough to hold the entire grape mixture. ( Or us mulitple collanders lined with cheese cloth if necessary). Allow grapes to drain at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better.
- Press the grapes to extract all juice. Discard the grape mixture and reserve the juice. You need four cups of juice. If need be add a bit of water or grape juice (or red wine) to bring the juice up to a full 4 cups.
Prepare the Jars
- Sterilize half pint jars in 275° oven for 15 minutes. Wash lids and bands but leave them at room temperature. It is no longer necessary to submerge lids in boiling water. See Note 1 below. Keep jars warm until ready to pour the jelly in.
- If you are planning to can the jelly prepare your canner with enough hot water to cover the jars by at least 1".
Make the Jelly
- Bring the sugar, butter and juice to a rolling boil over high heat in a large saucepan. Stir often.
- Add liquid pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not over cook once the pectin has been added or it may not gel properly.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Gently scoop off any foam on top of the mixture.
- Ladle hot mixture in to hot jars. Leave ¼" headspace. Wipe rims clean. Center lids and screw bands on just until finger tight.
- If canning, add jars to canner covered by at least 1" water. Water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars, allow them to cool at least 8 hours or overnight. Check seals and store. Jelly will keep easily up to 12 months on the shelf.
- Alternatively, fill sterilized jars and leave ¼" headspace. Wipe rims clean. Center lids and screw bands on just until finger tight. Allow jars to cool overnight, check seals. Jelly can be stored sealed in the fridge up to 3 months or in the freezer up to a year.