Introduction: Muscadine Fruit/wine Jelly
Because everything is better with booze. Or, if you like, simply use 2 cups of white or regular grape juice. The basic recipe that can be found elsewhere online uses 2 to 2.5 cups of water.
Muscadines are very very sweet grapes, with a milder flavor than regular thin-skinned grapes. If you are unfamiliar with them - they're typically only seasonal and can usually only be found a few weeks to months out of the year. Muscadines have a very thick skin, that is inedible in it's raw form. You have to bite or slice off the end of each grape to eat it. I like to suck the whole pulp out, suck on it for a few seconds then swallow it whole, seeds and everything. I'm weird, I know.
Muscadine grapes come in green and red and sometimes a bronze color. For this, I'm using strictly green, but next batch I may try out making a blush of green and red cooked together.
This is a CANNED jelly recipe, so if you do not have a way to process your jars to preserve them, you must consume them within about 3 weeks, and they must be kept in the fridge. Other than the first 2 steps, this recipe is 90% what you find in a packet of sure-jell for standard grape jelly.
As with all jam and jelly recipes, there is a chance of getting a bit of scalding hot fruit spatter, so either wear socks or have a cool rag handy to grab and wipe your arm so you don't have to leave a boiling pot. Make sure use use a pot deep enough to have a few inches of open air on top.
Typical canning supplies: Canner, spoons, funnel, lid retriever, ladle, tongs, jars and lids, all SANITIZED.
I sanitize my equipment by bringing my canner to a boil and throwing everything in for 10 minutes, including the jars. When done, pull tongs out of the water by the end you have left sticking out of the top, and remove your items and let them out on a clean, dry paper towel or clean dry tea towel. Jars should be placed upright and will dry on their own while your fruit breaks down.
Also will need: Colander, potato masher, rubber or silicone spatula
7 cups of sugar
1 box of pectin, I prefer sure-jell
4 lbs of muscadine grapes
1 cup of muscadine grape wine or sweet white table wine
1 cup of muscadine cider or juice, or white grape juice
OR 2 cups of water
OR 2 cups of juice
Step 1: Wash the Grapes
Wash the grapes in a colander, swishing them around, drain and remove stems and any leaves or anything else that is not a grape. with a sharp knife, slice into each and every grape - a shallow cut across the skin, does not have to be halved, or you risk cutting into seeds and getting seed slivers in your final jelly. You can also pierce them with a toothpick or skewer instead.
Deposit grapes into a large, deep sauce pot that can handle a gallon of fruit. Add liquid and turn to high heat. Stir from time to time, until all the skins turn yellow and soft, about 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and begin mashing with a potato masher, or allow to cool completely and then run them through a food mill. I am investing in a food mill after this, because triple straining was a pain in the butt.
Once the contents of the pot are thoroughly mashed, line your colander with 2 or more layers of cheesecloth and pour half the mixture (with hulls) through into another clean pot, preferably your favorite jam and jelly pot. take up the corners of the cheesecloth, gently lifting. This step is MUCH easier if you allow the grapes and juice to cool for a while before starting.
Pull the corners together and gently twist. juice will drain slowly, the centers of the grapes are very dense and will not be friendly about releasing juice. You may have to take a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides of your bag of grapes several times to release the gel like insides of the grapes.
I did this in two batches, straining each one twice and wringing out the cheesecloth into the jam pot.
Step 2: Now, Onto the Fun Part!
From here on out, you are really just following the sure-jell recipe, but here it is if you don't have it handy.
The jelly liquid will not be completely clear, and to be honest, it doesn't bother me if it's not.
You should have around 5-6 cups of liquid in your pot after all the straining is done. If you do not, add juice until you have at mininum, five cups of liquid. Pitch in your sure-jell, pat of butter and turn your heat up to high and bring to a ROILING boil.
*A roiling boil is when the liquid continues to boil even while stirring.
As soon as it is boiling, dump all your sugar in at once, stir, and bring back up to a roiling boil. This can take up to 10 minutes. Stir constantly - DO NOT walk away from your stove or you can risk burning your hand squeezed juice.
Time out one minute, or count slowly to sixty. A few seconds over won't mess up your jelly. Turn off your burner and remove from heat.
Make sure you are stirring the liquid while it is boiling, do not give the bottom a chance to scald or burn.
Step 3: And You're Nearly Done!
Fill all of your jars - in this case, my batch made ten 8-oz jars of jelly. Fill using your usual instructions - use a funnel and ladle in your jelly to within 1/4 an inch to the very top of the jar and lid. Screw your rings on lightly until just barely tightened, then process each batch for 10 minutes at a FULL BOIL. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch.
Remove from heat with canning tongs and set upright on another folded towel for at least 24 hours before you move them to long-term storage. Check each jar the next day, tilting ti make sure it set up. You can get away with jam that doesn't set up right, but not jelly. If it is not full set, give it another day or two, and if it has still not set after 3 days, you'll have to pop the lids and re-can using the instructions on your regular pectin box. Make sure you discard the lids and get new ones.
If any of your jars fail to process correctly, stick it in the fridge after it cools and enjoy for up to 3 weeks.
This makes a pretty sweet white grape jelly, and it's delicious. The alcohol in the wine will have cooked nearly all the way off in the first process - There will not be enough booze left in any one jar to even be able to smell the alcohol.
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