Back tracking just a little. My grandmother used to make this when I was little. Yes she made jelly from regular old Concord grapes as well but the wild grapes were kind of a special thing. Why waste them?
Last fall when I was home I noticed that we have an incredible crop of wild grapes along one of our fence rows. They weren't ripe so my Mom's friend Katie said she would pick them, Mom would freeze them, I'd take them home, make jelly. Share? Maybe.
That's Katie, armed and dangerous
That's my Mom laughing in the back ground
One more reason why you don't mess with the women in my family.
I finally remembered to actually bring them home, so jelly it is. I don't know if you are familiar with wild grapes, they are about the size of a pearl. I spent four hours cleaning 8 pounds, to end up with 6. If I had a press I could have just done that but with stems, leaves et al attached, they had to be cleaned by hand, Otherwise the juice is ruined. So...
Hands worthy of a slasher flick
For six pounds of these
The extreme close up
The juice will keep in the fridge for about a week so I finally got around to making my jelly tonight. I could open the kitchen doors, drift back and forth from the patio, all good. I was going to do this cool science-y thing, showing pectin using acetone (nail polish remover) and some of the juice but I forgot so, sorry.
I ended up with 6 cups of juice, so a batch and a half of jelly but I was feeling lazy. I don't recommend this but I made it all at once. Because grapes, especially wild ones, are so high in pectin, they are a little more forgiving in changing the quantity of the recipe. So here is the recipe. Equal parts juice and sugar. Very complicated and hard to follow, I know.
Jars all prepared and ready
Ready to go
Stock pot on one burner, canner on the other
Sugar going in
Bring it back to a full rolling boil, one you can't stir down. Bring it to the gel point, 220 degrees in the US, about 104 here in Canada. Ya, we measure temperature differently. Handy to know when your reading recipes. If you bring your jams and jellies to eight degrees above the boiling point here in Canada you end up with fruit gummies not what you were trying for. Any how...
Once you hit the gel point, skim off any foam and ladle into your prepared jars, top with sterile lids, tighten the bands and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Now comes the hard part, waiting.
When you make jelly, as opposed to jam, it is a bit like manscaping. You have to take it on faith, you can't really see if the jelly is done and will set. Making jam, you can see and feel the change and have a pretty good idea if it's ready, jelly, not so.
So here I am, waiting for the jelly to cool (and set) and see if all my efforts were worthwhile.
Seven little jars of goodness.
I know what you're all thinking.
Just for you MarkHopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised tomorrow morning and it will all be worth while