We have had a very successful grape growing season and have spent most of the holiday weekend making homemade Concord grape jam.
When our children were little, we used to pick produce like strawberries, blueberries, and apples together and then can the fruit as time allowed. Now that our days are a bit busier, it seems we have little time to do some of the things we so enjoyed years ago.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, our grape vines were bursting with beautiful ripe Concord grapes so we picked them all to prepare them for canning. M was a real trooper and helped me pick and prepare the grapes on Saturday. While we still have quite a few more jars to process, we have adopted a system that seems to work quite well so we should have everything processed soon. I have made two separate recipes to satisfy different family tastes. One that is a traditional Concord Grape Jam recipe and the other is a tart Reduced Sugar Concord Grape Spread that M seems to enjoy. I will post both for those that might be interested. These recipes are found on the Sure-Jel package and are tested as safe by Sure-Jel. Always use a reputable source (USDA, Ball, Sure-Jel, etc.) for recipes and follow strict food safety guidelines when home canning.
Homemade Concord Grape Jam
5-6 cups fresh grape juice (about 3 1/2 pounds of Concord grapes)
1 box of Sure-Jel pectin
7 cups sugar
First make the grape juice by washing 3 1/2 pounds of fresh Concord grapes.
Mash grapes with a potato masher to break open the grape skins.
Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 10 minutes. The cooking time starts only after the mixture has come to a boil.
Strain to squeeze out all the juice with a sieve.
In a large pan, put 5 cups of the juice. Add the fruit pectin to the juice; mix well. On high heat, bring to a full rolling boil, and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar all at once, and bring back to a full rolling boil, again boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly. At this time, you can add 1 or 2 teaspoons of butter to help keep the foam down.
Remove from heat, skim off foam and pour into hot jars; put on hot lids.
Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes.
Reduced Sugar Concord Grape Spread
5 cups Concord Grape Juice
1 box of Ball (No Sugar or Reduced Sugar) pectin
1 cup sugar
Follow the directions as listed above. This makes a very tart, but slightly sweet version of Concord Grape jelly. You will notice that it is more of a spread than a jelly because of the reduced sugar content.