Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grape Jelly

If you have followed this blog at all, you know that Samantha and Dona (daughter and wife) are trying to avoid sugar. As I'm sure you can imagine, a person can have a difficult time trying to find things like condiments that don't contain sugar. We found some jams and jellies that don't use refined sugar, for $6-$8 per jar. So I thought I would see if I could make some that was edible. I will post a strawberry jam recipe here this week that was all right, if a bit tart. This grape jelly, though, is pretty good.

If you have never before done any home canning, I would encourage you to start small and start easy. Hit some yard sales and buy a water bath canner from an old lady who doesn't need it any more. She will probably supply you with some mason jars as well. Jams and jellies are some of the classic things to preserve, as well as things like apple butter.

I found this recipe for jam without sugar. As I noted above, it turned out pretty well.

Grape Jelly
  • 2 containers of frozen grape juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1-2 boxes of low-sugar pectin 
Put one of the containers of grape juice concentrate in a stainless steel or enamel kettle with 1 box of pectin and bring to a rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred away). Add the rest of the grape juice concentrate, return to a rolling boil, and boil for one minute. 

Now you need to test to see if your jelly will "jell." Dip a spoon in the jelly and put it in the freezer for about a minute. 

Take the spoon out and see if the jelly runs, drips, or slides off. If it slides off, you are ready to put your jelly into jars. If not, you need to add more pectin. Add about a half of a box, and boil hard for another minute. Do the spoon test again. It should jell now, but you might need to add another 1/4 to half of a box of pectin. Once your jelly jells, then you are ready to put it into jars. 

I assume you have washed your jars. Once you have the jelly warming up to a boil the first time, put them in a sink of really hot water. You are going to be putting boiling hot liquid in the jars, and the glass might crack if it's not warmed up.  

Also, before you even start the process, put enough water in your canner and turn on the heat to medium or medium-high. Start with hot water out of the faucet if you can, because it will take awhile and a lot of heat to get the 3-5 gallons of water boiling hard. 

Anyway, put your jelly in jars and put lids and rings on the jars. Boil for the amount of time appropriate to the size of jars you are using and your altitude. 

When you are done you have some homemade grape jelly!

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