The holidays are really creeping up on me this year, and I feel like I have so much to do and so little time. I plan on making holiday goodies including painted cookies, gingerbread cupcakes, and cinnamon candy, but I am not going to be around to blog about any of it next week due to holiday travel plans. Sorry. Instead, I thought I would post several holiday gifts that are easy to make, inexpensive to give, and delicious to receive. The very best part about these gifts is that you make them yourself which shows the recipient that you really care enough to put your time and energy into a gift.
So, without further ado, here is a wonderful jelly made from muscadine wine. Those of you from other parts of the country (I am from NC) may not be very familiar with the muscadine grape. Muscadines are native to America and are grown widely across the southern US in backyards as well as vineyards. The grapes are sweeter than other grapes used for wine and produce a sweeter juice. They are also delicious eaten fresh or made into grape jelly which is how most people tend to use them. They can, however, be fermented into a wine that is sweet and intensely fruity. You can purchase wine made from muscadine grapes, but I use homemade wine fermented by a friend of my uncle. The wine is usually ready in late November and a gallon goes a long way toward making jelly and muscadine wine pound cake (I will post the recipe later). Of course, you can also drink it.
Before I get into making the jelly, let me tell you that the first time I ever got this wine, it was given to me by my uncle as a Christmas gift. It came with a warning. He said that I had to open it every few hours because it was still fermenting and would explode if I didn't. He knew this from experience as he had accidentally left a gallon in the back of his truck. The pressure in the jug kept building until the lid could not hold, and it burst open making a bit of a mess. Needless to say, I was very careful to open the jug regularly.
Now, for the jelly. This wine produces a jelly that is sweet, grapey, and very pretty. It is not red, but more of a pinkish purple color which is gorgeous spread on fresh bread. It would also go very nicely with a sampling of various cheeses. If you can't get your hands on muscadine wine, I am sure you could use a red wine of your choice. The flavor may be slightly different. This recipe does contain a lot of sugar. My uncle is going to try it with the no sugar added pectin and once he does, I will let you know the results.