Grape Jelly, The Old Fashioned Way, Cooked and Canned at Home for the BIGGEST Flavor.

Beautiful Blue-Black Concord Grapes for Jelly or Jam
I am so excited!!  I just found Concord Grapes!  I have tried to buy them every fall for at least the last three years and not gotten any.  So when I saw these at of all places WalMart I bought 4 boxes and hoped for the best.  I may go back tomorrow and check for more!!!

To Prepare the Juice:

I checked my pectin box and the Ball Blue Book and both called for 3-3 1/2 pounds of grapes.  These were sold by the dry quart measure but I am guessing close to or just under a pound apiece.  so with 4 I purchased there should be just enough for a recipe yielding 8 cups of delicious grape jelly.

First the grapes need to be washed then removed from the stems and crushed and placed into a large heavy bottomed kettle.   Add 1 1/2 Cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook gently until the fruit has softened, about 10 minutes for soft fruit such as grapes.

Place three layers of cheese cloth in a large mixing bowl with the edges extending well outside of the bowl.  Pour carefully the grape juice and pulp into the center of the fabric.  Gather the overlapping fabric together to form a sack and tie securely with butcher twine.  I use the handle from my upper kitchen cabinets and secure the bag to it and relocate the bowl directly beneath to catch the juice as it drains from the pulp.  Let this hang undisturbed until no juice is dripping.  If you are tempted to squeeze the bag it is permissible but your jelly will NOT be clear.  I do not squeeze it at all.

To Prepare the Jars:

Wash and sterilize the jars and lids to  have enough for 8-9 cups of jelly.  Keep the lids and bands in simmering water until you are ready to use them.  Stack the clean sterile jars in the rack of the cold packer and hook the rack across the rim of the pan and bring the water to a boil beneath the jars to keep them hot.  Keep another kettle of water simmering in case you need to add additional water to the bath to process.  The boiling water will need to cover the filled jars by at least 1" .

To Make Grape Jelly:

Once the juice is ready measure it.  Place 5 C. pure grape juice into  a large pan.  You may add up to 1/2 C. water if needed to make up any shortage of liquid.  Add the pectin and 1/2 teaspoon of butter to keep the foam to a minimum.  Using another medium sized bowl measure 7 C. of sugar and set aside for now.

Bring the juice to a full rolling boil (one you cannot stir down) while stirring.  Add the sugar all at once to the juice stirring until dissolved over high heat.  Bring back to a full boil stirring constantly.  Boil for exactly 1 minute.   Remove from the heat.  Skim off any foam if necessary.  Ladle hot jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4" head space.  Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth and adjust the two piece caps firmly.  Process 5 minutes in boiling water canner.

Remove the rack from the bath and hook over the edge of the bottom pan and leave for 5 minutes.  Then lift the rack and cans out and onto a folded layer of towel.  Remove each jar carefully onto a tea towel and leave undisturbed for at least 24 hours.  Store in a dark cool place for 1 year.   I yielded 9 and 1/2 cups of jelly.

I find that jelly made this way is so much more flavorful and fragrant than purchased varieties.  I suspect they water down the juice to produce more but then I don't know that for sure.  It is just my opinion. 

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