Concord Grape Jelly

By • August 23, 2013 • 1 Comments

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Author Notes: To my nine-year old self, Concord grapes only meant one thing: sweet sandwiches of toasted white bread filled with thick cream cheese and a hefty layer of store-bought jelly. About five years ago, I had an adult version of that sandwich at Duckfat in Portland, Maine. The chef made a warm dessert panini of mascarpone cheese and Concord grape jelly dusted with powdered sugar that was easily heaven on a plate.

Thanks to a hidden stash growing in the woods behind my house, Concord grapes have transcended yet again. Once summer starts to fade, my 60-year-old Italian nonna of a neighbor and I meet in the woods to pick grapes, lament our overgrown gardens and compare recipes. We make a few pints of Concord Grape Jelly and meet over toast with jelly all winter long.

My friend Heidi shared her Concord Grape Jelly recipe with me last year. It’s based on the Ball Canning Guide recipes from the 1970s. With the grape harvest from a local farm, she photographed the entire process for me – lucky me!
eatboutique

Makes approximately 3 pints

  • 2 quarts Concord grapes, stemmed
  • 6 cups Sugar
  1. Briskly boil grapes on stovetop until whole grapes “pop” under the pressure of a spoon. Transfer to a canning sieve and press the pulp, reserve the juice that flows through.
  2. Squeeze the remaining pulp through cheesecloth to save every last drop of grape juice.
  3. Add all the juice to a saucepan with the sugar. Cook slowly until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Rapidly boil the sweet juice until you reach the jellying point. Use the “plate test” to determine when the jelly is ready.
  5. Pour the boiling hot jelly into prepared canning jars. Leave ½-inch headspace if using Weck jars.
  6. Process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.
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over 1 year ago rainey

You might want to try this one too. I suspect the basic flavor will be more or less the same grapey goodness but the additions make it a little more adult and sophisticated. The raisins impart another layer of flavor to the fresh grapes.

It's from an old grocery-store-one-volume-a-week cookbook that I found in my mother-in-law's kitchen when she died more than 40 years ago. I've loved it since then and wish, now that we live in Southern California, Concord grapes were more available so I could make it again.

Eliminating the redundant canning instructions:

Grape Conserve

Yield: Makes 10 8-oz. jars

• 4 pounds Concord grapes
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 lemon, juiced along with its rind
• 1 orange, juiced along with itsrind
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cup golden raisins
• 4 cup sugar
• 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Make sure all the grapes are of the freshest quality. Wash, drain and remove stems. Slip skins from pulp and reserve. Heat pulp to boiling in large, tall pot. Rub through a course sieve to remove seeds. Return the pulp to cooking pot.

Remove rind from lemon and orange making sure not to include any of the white pith. Grate or julienne finely. Ream the juice from the orange and lemon. Remove any seeds. Set this aside in a separate bowl.

Add water, rinds, salt and raisins to the grape pulp. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the citrus juices and grape skins. Heat to boiling. Add the sugar and cook until conserve is thick. When the proper consistency is reached the conserve will still appear liquid but a thin layer on the back of a spoon will leave a "track" if you draw a line through it with a spatula.

Add the nuts during the final minute of cooking.


PS I'm also nutz about Weck jars. I'm still using jars that are probably more than 20 years old and I doubt I've lost more than a handful!