Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Right now, grapes are available at local farm stands. Most are Concords and offer an intoxicating fragrance for your kitchen even if you never get to cooking them. But cooking them is easy and the jam produced is delicious.You may scoff at the idea, remembering the supermarket grape jelly of childhood, but make it and you'll see that mass-market grape bears no resemblance to fresh-made.

And like raspberrry jam (see rhodeislandismyoyster.blogspot.com/2010/07/raspberry-jam-easier-than-pie.html ), this jam is no-fail and easy to make. But it does require a food mill (I use the smaller Foley mill).

1. Wash 12 jelly jars and lids and put them in a large pot with a jam funnel and a ladle. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer (alternative: dishwasher, using high heat dry setting). When the jelly is close to done boiling, place the sterilized jars and lids on a clean, linen-type dish towel.

2. In a big pot put 1/2 cup of water in the bottom, add 12 cups* of washed grapes and 12 cups of sugar, heat on low at first to thoroughly mix in the sugar, then raise to a boil and boil for 20 minutes.

3. Remove pot from the stove and carefully (the grapes are hot hot and will splatter) ladle the grapes into a food mill (not all at once - do this in batches) placed on a large bowl or another pot. Mill each batch of grapes very thoroughly - you want to be left with only the seeds and skins. 

4. When the grapes are all milled reheat the jam to boiling, and immediately remove from the heat. Place the jam funnel on a jar and ladle the jam in. Move the funnel to the next jar and repeat until you have 6 jars ready. Wipe the rim of each jar using another clean linen-type dish towel dipped in boiled water, then place a jelly lid on top and carefully screw on the ring (don't make it super tight, not necessary). Do the next 6 jars. Cool on a rack and listen for random (satisfying) pops as the jars seal.

* Have only 8 cups of grapes? Go ahead, recipe is the same but remember, the process will move faster.

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