Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you smell the grape jam?

(note..this is a re-post from last year, updated with some corrections. )

Man, I sure wish I could bottle the smell of grape jam cooking! It smells SO good! I made quite a few batches last month when a friend gave us some grapes. 3 of us got to work and made several batches. Well, last Sat. another friend dropped off HER grapes! So, I thought I'd better get them done. They aren't easy to come by and sure hated wasting them. They don't seem to be like the other ones though. They never did ripen to a dark purple but Kirt said they tasted good. Which is weird, because Concord grapes usually are a bit bitter to eat. Oh I go. These are going to make great little gifts for all my quilting friends, family members, teachers, church friends....I think I might need more grapes!

Here's the box of grapes she brought me.

It looks like a lot, but it was surprising how many I had to throw away.

Washed the grapes. I sorted them, keeping only the ripest ones and unblemished ones. I thought they would be about 40 or so in human years! LOL They aren't too young and unripe, have no blemishes, aren't old and wrinkly. It seems like I threw away more than I kept. I ended up having enough for one regular batch (with reduced sugar, but still a lot--and had to be water bath canned) and one Sugar Free batch (which requires no cooking, but doesn't set up as much as the regular kind).

Then I popped off the skins. Just squeezing them pops the insides out

and then you put the skins in another bowl. I tried to speed up the process by grabbing a handful and squeezing them. What a mess! There was grape pulp all over the place! Okay, one by one....

Cook the grape pulp (the insides--seeds and all) with a little water.

Put them in a sieve and strain all the seeds out.

Only the seeds are left to be dumped.

While the pulp is cooking, chop up the skins in a food processor.

Then add this to the cooked and strained pulp.

While all this is cooking, you need to wash your jars (either in the dishwasher or by hand in hot soapy water. I then pour boiling water over all them)

And simmer your lids (not the bands) in hot water. It sterilizes the lids and makes the seals soft so they will seal better.

Cook your grape pulp/skin mixture with pectin and sugar. Bring to a full roiling boil and cook for 1 minute.

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture while constantly stirring something? hahaha

Quickly ladle into prepared jars (using a funnel)

Then wipe off the jar tops with a damp rag. If there is anything on the rims, the jars won't seal.

Add the jar lids and band and process in a hot water canning bath for 10 minutes. I tried to take a picture, but it kept fogging up my camera! Remove the jars and let cool

Here is a jar of Sugar Free jam........

I had leftover pulp to make this batch. It is not cooked, but simply mixed with Splenda and a sugar free pectin. I stirred it for 3 minutes and then ladled it into these jars. I store them in the freezer.

This grape jam doesn't set up as well as the regular. But it's still full of fresh grape flavor. And actually I like it better than the regular stuff. Well, I have to like it since I can't like the other one now. :)

All done--3 1/2 hours later, kitchen is cleaned, all the pots/pans/bowls put away and I have 9 half pint jars of jam and 5 half pint jars of Sugar Free jam in the freezer.

Cost of grapes: $ a jar of jam (to my friend who gave me the grapes)

Cost of jars: $15.00

Cost of sugar: $2.49

Cost of pectin: $3.00

Time spent: 3 1/2 hours

Value of HOMEMADE jam with NO extra stuff: PRICELESS!

BONUS: My kitchen smells like grape homemade goodness! Now if I could figure out how to bottle that..........................


paula, the quilter said...

I just made some Homemade Apple Butter using the half sugar/half Splenda. Since I only got 1.5 pints I didn't bother processing them, just stuck them in the back of the fridge. O yum.

Pam said...

I bet the jam is tasty!! But boy does that sorting and squeezing of grapes sound like a lot of work!!

How is the dog? Have you found a home for him? Or is he still happy there with you?