Monday, November 5, 2012

Grape Jelly 101- How to Make Homemade Grape Jelly

Homemade grape jelly.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
Homemade grape jelly?  Yes please!  :)

It is so yummy that you'll never want a store bought jar of fake, corn syrup, lollipop tasting stuff again.  Sweets is a grape jelly person.  Me?  I'm more of a strawberry or peach preserves kinda person but there is something completely different about the jelly that comes out of your kitchen that's made with your own hands.

I had kicked around the idea of making a batch of preserves and never considered making jelly until I came across a blog post that touched on the subject.  I had absolutely no idea that jelly could be made from fruit juice.  I dreaded the thought of cooking a fruit, pressing and straining.  Don't get me wrong, I love making things from scratch but my ambition only goes so far unless it is out of complete necessity or just sounds like something I really want to try to do.  Just because you know how doesn't necessarily mean you want to.

Ingredients for homemade grape jelly.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
The picture in my head of stomping grapes in a barrel cracked me up.  It sounds like fun and maybe someday, we'll get there.  However, for today we are sticking with the alternative choice.  A nice bottle of 100% juice grape juice.

Here's what you need to make homemade grape jelly...

3 cups of grape juice (100% juice, stay away from the cheap imitations)
4 cups of white granulated sugar
1 box of fruit pectin

It's extremely easy to make this jelly and you don't even have to process the jars unless you want to.  It can be stored in the freezer for up to a year and you can keep the jar that is being used in the fridge.  Or, you can process the jars in a canner for a longer shelf life.

3 cups of grape juice and pectin in the pan.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
That recipe filled 2, 1/2 quart jars.  Around here those sizes of jelly from a name brand company would cost around $5.00 each.  These jars were about $1.50 each because I bought the sugar on a great sale with coupons last year, the grape juice was on clearance for $1.00 (it will make a total of 6 jars) and the pectin was the most expensive component at $2.00 for the box.  It's a bargain to say the least.

To make the jelly...

1.  Put the juice in a pot and sprinkle the entire packet of pectin over the top.  Whisk to dissolve the pectin and turn the heat up to medium/high.
2.  Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (where the boiling continues even as the juice is being stirred) and allow it to boil for ONE minute.
3.  Add the sugar all at once, stirring while you are dumping it in.
4.  Return it to a full, rolling boil and allow it to boil for one minute.
5.  Skim any foam that forms on the top off with a spoon.  It won't hurt the jelly to leave it but it does cause it to be a bit cloudy if you don't get it all.

Foam that was skimmed off the jelly.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
At this point, if you are canning the jelly, you will want to of had your canning water ready and your jars sterilized.  Ladle the jelly into the jars leaving the general 1/2 to 1/4 inch head space at the top.  Put the lids and rings (finger tight) on the jars and submerse them in the water to process for 10 minutes.

If you are not processing the jars, you can put the jelly into any container.  Wait for it to cool off then store in the freezer until you are ready to use it.  It can be defrosted in the fridge.

The jelly may not set up right away and that's ok.  Sometimes it takes a while for it to completely cool off in the jar because it won't set up while it is still warm.

I know what you are thinking... can you do this with other types of juice?  The answer is a definite yes.  As long as you are using 100% juice, you can make this jelly with it.

Future endeavors in jelly making will probably consist of apple, cranberry and at least orange at our house.  It really is the little things that can make life so sweet.

Happy Monday!



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