Sunday, September 22, 2013

Concord Grape Jam

Can you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without grape jelly or jam?  Sure, other flavors like strawberry are okay, but nothing compares to grape.  It just works best.  At least that's the consensus at my house. 

That being said, when you start to make your own jellies and jams, it is difficult to make a sandwich (or anything else using jam, for that matter) with anything other than homemade.  I had been putting off making grape jelly because I just don't like the process of making jelly (too time consuming and laborious for me), but that also meant I was constantly having to consider purchasing grape jelly in the supermarket.  

Grape pulp with seeds
I usually didn't which led to many inferior sandwiches.  That is, until I decided to try grape jam instead.  If you've never tried grape jam, you must.  Like right away.  It is so easy, sets beautifully, and has a great consistency.  Jelly-like but with a little more texture, it does not have chunks of grape as peach would have chunks. Instead the grapes are pressed through a sieve to achieve the proper consistency.  

Grape skins ready to be ground in food processor
Grape pulp being pushed through a chinois to remove seeds
Since making this jam, it is a little scary to admit that we have already eaten two jars.  This jam can also be used in any number of desserts where jam would be appropriate.  Thumbprint cookies, jam filled muffins, oatmeal jam bars (I will try to post a recipe for these soon)...the list could go on and on.

Concord Grape Jam- makes approximately 9 half-pints

4 pounds Concord grapes (other varieties will work also)
1 cup water
7 cups granulated sugar
1 box powdered pectin (1.75 oz)

Prepare canner, jars, and lids.  Sort, wash, and remove stems from four pounds of grapes.  

Squeeze the skins off the grapes, and separate skins and pulp into separate bowls.  

Place pulp (will still contain seeds at this point) in a medium pot with 1 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.  Press the pulp mixture through a fine mesh sieve or chinois (conical strainer on a stand with a pestle) to separate the pulp from the seeds and to break the pulp down.  Set aside.  

In a food processor, puree all or part of the grape skins.  The amount you use is up to you and the color you hope to achieve (I used about 2 cups skins measured before pureeing).  Press the pureed skins through the sieve into the prepared pulp.  

Place the prepared grape mixture in a large, heavy bottomed pot.  Add the pectin and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, quickly add the sugar and stir to combine.  Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  

Remove the jam from the heat.  Using a clean spoon, skim the foam from the top of the jam.  Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe jar rims and top each with a prepared lid and ring.  Process jars 5 minutes in a boiling water bath adjusting for altitude as needed (increase processing time 1 minute for each 1000 feet).  Remove jars from the canner to a clean towel to cool completely before checking seals, labeling, and storing. 

Printable Version


  1. Do I have to use seeded grapes, or will unseeded do? And if I use unseeded, is it still necessary to use a chinois?

  2. You can use seedless grapes. To get the same consistency, you will still need to press or mash the pulp through a sieve of some type, especially if you plan on adding any of the grounds skins back into the mix. It can be any type of sieve or strainer. If you are not planning on adding any of the skins, you could probably get by with using a potato masher or similar utensil to mash the pulp, but I'm not sure what the consistency of the finished jam will be like (and you will lose some of the color by not adding the skins). Hope this helps.