In this Instructable you will learn how to make delicious organic red grape jelly. It is ideal as a gift and delicious with crusty bread, butter and cheese.
Makes 600mls jam (2 standard jam jars)
Preparation time; half an hour, straining takes an hour.
I decided to make this as we have a grape vine and wanted to make something delicious with the grapes. The second and third pictures show the grapes growing in our greenhouse. My first task was to harvest the grapes. The fourth and fifth pictures show the 4.5kg of grapes I collected. I multiplied the quantities up as I had more than a kilo of grapes to use.
The in-laws nagged me to make wine again with the grapes; after the success of the 'Nun's Knickers' and the 'Vicar's Vest' they were keen for more! I put in my trusty ZenPlugs Molded Ear Plugs to block out the complaints and set to work on jam instead. I have spent years developing and perfecting my ear plugs; having spent so long doing shift work I really needed a decent pair of ear plugs to get me through the night. I found most ear plugs lacking in some way so was determined to develop a new type of ear plug which was better in every way. After spending a long time researching materials and trying out different formulas I came up with The ZenPlugs Process which I now have a patent pending on. You can see them at https://zenplugs.com.
Step 1: You Will Need
1kg of organic grapes
An organic lemon
450g of grape sugar with added pectin (I used pectin powder and followed the instructions on the packet).
Large saucepan (I needed 3!)
Clean tea towel or fruit straining mesh
Cup of tea
Something decent on the radio
Enough jam jars, you will need two if you use a kilo of grapes, I used eleven
A saucer or jam thermometer
Step 2: Juice the Grapes
Place the grapes in a large saucepan and put on a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and mashing with the potato masher until the grapes have broken down and your juice is free. This takes about 15 minutes. Be careful when mashing as you might be splashed with hot juice.
I used three pans, you will only need one if you use a kilo of grapes. The second image shows the grapes warming up and the third shows them when they are almost ready to be strained.
Step 3: Strain the Grapes
Strain the juice from the grapes. Place a muslin/teatowel in a seive, place the seive in your large bowl and pour the squashed grapes in. Leave for an hour until the juice has run into the bowl. Be careful as the juice is hot.
You can see the juice running through the tea-towel in the third photo. If it stops running it is likely that the tea-towel has become clogged; you can gently pull the tea-towel from one side so the juice filters through a fresh area. You can see this in the fourth image. The fifth image shows me squeezing the last of the juice through. Make sure you have hold of all the edges otherwise the juice squirts all over your radio.
As I had a large amount of grapes to process I strained them in two stages; first through just the sieve, then through the tea towel. This is quicker because otherwise the tea-towel or fruit straining mesh becomes quickly clogged. If you only have a kilo you can probably put them straight into the muslin/tea-towel. Having put them through the sieve I put them back the pan for a second mashing before putting them through the tea-towel to make sure I got all the juice out.
Step 4: Weigh the Sugar
Weigh 450g of sugar per kilo of grapes. I used 4.5kg of grapes so needed 2025kg of sugar.
Step 5: Lemon
Juice a lemon. You will one per kilo of grapes. Makes sure the pips don't go in!
Step 6: Measure and Simmer the Grape Juice
Measure the juice, you should have 600mls for the quantities listed in the Instructable. Add the lemon juice and sugar. I have included a video of the sugar being added; it was amazing as there was so much! If you listen carefully and turn up the volume you can hear St. Vincent - "Los Ageless" playing in the background.
Bring the juice to the boil and skim any scum that forms on the surface using a sieve or slotted spoon, as per the fourth image.
Step 7: Add the Pectin
Add the pectin according to the instructions on the packet. If you are using jam sugar with pectin included you won't need to perform this step. The instructions on my pack said to dissolve in cold water then bring to the boil. I dissolved 6 sachets, one for every kilo of grapes in a cup of cold juice, then added it to the pan.
Step 8: Is It Ready?
Let it bubble until the temperature reaches 105 degrees on a sugar thermometer, or if you don't have one you can put a saucer in the freezer for five minutes, place a small spoonful of hot juice on the saucer and wait for one minute before dragging your finger through the juice. If it slightly wrinkles and feels like a gel it's ready to be transferred into jars. You can see this in the picture and video. If you don't like the squeaky noise of a finger on a wet plate you will need to put your ear plugs in!
Step 9: Out-Take
You're not supposed to see this.
Step 10: Fill Your Jars
Using a mug, fill the jam jars and screw the lids on while still hot to give a vacuum seal when it cools. You need to do this quickly before it sets!
Label and enjoy with crusty bread, cheese and butter.