Wild Concord Grape Jelly

November 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

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At least I think they’re wild Concord grapes. They’re definitely Concord grapes but are they wild? They were growing in the woods near my house, maybe they ended up there somehow a long time ago after being planted elsewhere?

But I came upon them one day, tons of them, dark little orbs just hanging off the vines, high up in the trees.  And of course my ‘can’t let these go to waste’ mind started thinking about jelly. That and thoughts of fresh bread slathered with this jelly and some crunchy organic peanut butter motivated me. So I picked and picked and brought home bowlfuls and the jelly making process began.

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Making jelly was one of those things I didn’t always do because it seemed too labor intensive. I’ve made jam for years now but never jelly. Then I bought some red currant bushes, and you can only eat so many of those tart little things! I decided to make jelly out of them and wondered why I thought it was complicated. Now I make red currant jelly every year.

I found  a simple recipe from Food and Wine and made it even simpler by skipping a step. This turned out to be some amazing jelly! I think the flavor was intensified because some of the grapes were already starting to shrivel up on the vine (I used them anyway), concentrating that grape flavor even more.

Here’s the recipe, simple as pie, simpler actually.

4 pounds ripe Concord grapes, washed and picked over, about 10 cups

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped, with seeds

1 cup organic sugar ( the recipe called for more than twice this amount but I cut it down)

Put the grapes and apple in a large pot with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Strain the juice through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. You should have 3 cups.

Put the juice back into the pot, add the sugar and bring to a boil. Continue boiling over moderate heat, stirring, until the jelly falls off a cool spoon in sheets (or registers 220° on an instant-read thermometer) about 18 minutes.

If you want to can, follow directions below, otherwise pour into clean jars and refrigerate until you eat it all!

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Clean and sterilize canning jars. You can do this by running through a dishwasher, or boiling the jars for 10 minutes in large pot. Immerse the lids and rings in water (in separate pot) and bring ALMOST to a boil. Turn off heat and let them sit in the hot water until you’re ready to use them.

When ready, pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized canning jars, saving 1/4 inch of space at top. Wipe rims with moist, clean towel, then put lids and rings on to seal. Don’t over-tighten. Submerge the jars in a pot of water (you want them covered by at least 1 inch of water) boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and let cool. Check the jar lids, any unsealed ones can be processed again or refrigerate.

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Concord grapes are a superfood, containing Vit C, manganese and powerful antioxidants for your skin, brain and heart. Buy organic only as conventionally  grown grapes are loaded with pesticides.

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