Sunday, December 8, 2013

How to make Homemade Grape Jelly

Grape jelly is easy. You technically don't even have to have real grapes. You can use store bought grape juice, but then, what fun would that be?  As with any food which you process yourself, making jelly is not only simple, but very gratifying as well. The taste is sooooo much more flavorful when you remember the fact that it was YOUR spoon that stirred it, and it was YOUR hands that picked the grapes, from YOUR vines. A small amount of grapes will yield a LOT of jelly. Can you say Christmas presents? Who doesn't like homemade goods?

First is the obvious. You gotta pick the grapes. I know mine are ripe when the chickens begin wondering beyond their normal range giving the appearance of tiny trampolines beneath the vine, as they jump up trying to get the lower bunches.  I use small shears to detach the bunches, as pulling them off of the vine makes it bounce a lot and drop perfectly good grapes.

Don't they look scrumptious?

After picking the grapes off of the stems, I washed them and threw them all in a cook pot. Add about 1 3/4 cups of water for every 5 pounds of grapes. Mash them with a potato masher. DON'T use a juicer. As with raspberries and such, if you use a juicer, you will get a lot of bitterness from the seeds. They do not have to be crushed very well, the cooking process will bring out the flavor. 

bring the grapes to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. In no time, your kitchen will be smelling like a Welch's factory.

Next, strain it to get rid of the hulls, pulp, and seeds. You wan't only juice if you are trying to make jelly. 

You will need 5 cups of grape juice for 1 batch of jelly. Pictured here is 3 batches worth of juice from our 1 dinky little grape vine.  If you don't quite have 5, relax, you can just add water to the juice. It will dilute it slightly, but providing it is less than 1 cup of water, I doubt you will know the difference.

Along with the 5 cups of grape juice, you will need 7 cups of sugar and 1 pack of Pectin (I use Sure-Jell). Pectin is found naturally in the peels of fruits, but I would suggest buying it if you want to get this jelly done THIS YEAR!.

Pour the juice into your cook pot and put some flammage to it. It needs to come to a boil, so Medium is good.

Pour in the pectin right away and stir it in.

While you are waiting for the juice/pectin to boil, fill your jars with hot water to help prevent breakage when you fill them with your yummy jelly.

Once the juice/pectin reaches a boil, pour in the sugar while stirring constantly. ALL 7 cups.

Keep stirring. You need to reach a full rolling boil for a full minute before turning off the burner.

Then pour the jelly into your jars.

Process the jars for 5 minutes in a water bath.

Let the jars cool for 24 hours and ENJOY!!!!! 

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