A Jelly of a Time

The other day I mentioned that Julia and Bruce dropped off a ton of grapes Lots and Lots of Grapes.

Besides the grape and olive oil cake I made I also made some grape jelly, and I still have more grapes to use. I have not yet perfected my jelly-making procedures, but I am working on it. I am most definitely a work in progress on this one. Believe it or not, this is the first time I have ever even attempted to make jelly.

I followed two different recipes and I am still not completely happy with my jelly. I took bits and pieces from both. They were very similar, but one said to use pectin and the other did not. Even I knew, as the novice, that you needed to use pectin to make it set. But I did like adding the lemon juice to cut down on the sweetness from that recipe. After two attempts though, using both dry and liquid pectin, my jelly still did not set completely. So back to the kettle, to boil it down yet again, adding even more pectin, in hopes of my jelly jellying. So I am just tweaking the process, but the rest I think I have figured out. The flavor is really good though. I am giving you the combined recipe. I hope you have better luck than I did. And if you do, please share your methods. I love to learn new things.

Homemade Grape Jelly

3 1/2 lbs grapes, stems removed

1 cup water

3/4 cup of sugar per each 1/2 lb of grapes or about 7 cups of sugar

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp course salt

4-6 oz pectin, dry or liquid

In a large kettle or cooking pot, cook the grapes with the water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Gently mash with a potato masher a few times.

Remove from the heat and and strain in either cheesecloth or in a double strainer with a very thin mesh. Let the grapes drain overnight to get all the juice out. When done, throw away the seeds and skins.

Once you have your juice, add the sugar, a pinch of course salt, and lemon juice and bring to a rapid boil.

Add the pectin and bring back up to a rapid boil and continue to boil for about 1-2 minutes. Skim the foam off the top and discard. I tried both the liquid and the dry pectin. I preferred the dry pectin. It is like working with cornstarch. Let it come to a rapid boil before pouring it into the jars.

When the liquid is ready, pour it into sterile jars and place the jars in a bain marie or a water bath of boiling hot water and let set for 5 minutes. Then place the lids on the jellies and seal tightly. Your jelly should set up nicely and will be ready to use after it sets completely.

Because I had never made jelly before, I followed these recipes exactly, and my jelly never completely set, although it is much better after the second boiling. I am going to have to go through the boiling and pectin process yet again. But at least now I know what I have to do. My moral of the story, don’t follow the rules. Make them up as you go. 🙂

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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