|My mother, grape-stained and tickled pink.|
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So if nothing else, one thing is clear: I have the most adorable mother ever.
She came to visit me the other day, and helped me make industrial quantities of jams, jellies and pickles. It's absurd, really, how much food is now in my preserves cupboard.
One of the projects we took on was making wild grape jelly, largely because there's a city-owned vine just near my house that basically goes to waste whenever the Japanese beetles don't destroy it beyond fruit-bearing. And I'm used to picking fruit trees that belong to the city. (I do it all the time with Hidden Harvest. That's where my crabapple jelly came from, after all.)
So with such a great bounty and a taste for grape jelly, we had to do it. So my mother, with her unfailing good nature and enthusiasm for delicious preserves, sat down and stemmed all of those grapes. And thank goodness for that, because I was not looking forward to purple hands. (Thanks, Mom.)
|We only got one pound of grapes after pulling all the stems and leaves off, but we still got lots of jelly out of them!|
We ended up with less grapes than we expected, but the good news is that jelly goes a long way. So a dozen half-cup jars later, we were pretty happy with our project.
Makes 3 pints (1.5 litres)
1 pound stemmed wild grapes
4 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 package of pectin
Before starting, sterilize lids and jars for preserving. (I usually bake the jars for 10 minutes at 300°F and boil the lids and rings in a pot on the stove.)
Place the grapes and water into a pot and bring to a boil, squishing the grapes a little with the back of a spoon. Simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is starting to really break down. Using a jelly bag or two layers of cheese cloth in a fine strainer, strain the juice into a glass or plastic bowl without squishing the juice from the fruit. Let it strain without squishing for at least half an hour (about 2 hours is best). If you have a little under 3 cups juice, you can squeeze the grapes a little to get up to 3 cups. Then add the water and sugar to a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then mix in the pectin and boil one minute longer.
Pour the jelly into the hot jars and wipe rims to be sure there is no jelly residue before placing on the caps and screwing on only until fingertip tight (i.e. if you have to use your other hand to hold the jar, you're screwing it too tight). In a pot where you can get at least 1 inch of water over the tops of the jars, process the jars for 10 minutes, and then remove and let stand undisturbed at least until morning. If left undisturbed for a full day, you will be able to store your jelly for years. If the lids on the top don't pop down and seal properly, use your jelly within a couple of weeks.