Concord Grape Jelly (pectin-free), has that deep, mystic, plum color, and a sweet grape flavor that goes well with a nice slice of toast, or better yet paired with delicious cheese on a platter, perfect for those up and coming parties.
Song of the day: Black – Pearl Jam.
Before winter decided to surprise us and snow arrived to cover the beautiful Autumn colors with its pure white brightness, we were enjoying mild temperatures and outdoors activities. Proof is, that looking outside our backyard, everything seems to be frozen at summer time.
We did not have time to put everything away, pillows, bamboo table and chairs, some of the plants and statues. I guess we were living in denial that maybe this would be a long Autumn and a warm winter. But that wasn’t the case. A heavy blanket of snow covers now everything.
We cannot complain about what Summer and Autumn have given us in terms of produce. Our kitchen has been bustling with canning and preserving for a while (no pickling for me, I just cannot stand vinegar). So many jars, mostly jams, jellies, and chutney, are standing tall and proud on our pantry shelves, and few of them are going to become -hopefully welcomed- Christmas presents.
My in-laws’ garden has a tiny but very fruitful concord grape vine tree, that climbs alongside their backyard fence. They had received some seeds and Loreto’s father was quick and curious to see if it would grow in this rather not so friendly grape growing climate. You see, my father in law Americo had a vineyard in Italy, producing 23,000 liters of wine that they sold and people came to buy. Growing grapes is in his blood, this time his craft was put to the test. Loreto said that when he asked his father if he thought they would grow he, in his usual calm and humorous way, said: “we will plant them and see what happens”. Their garden faces south and for the longest time, he had them planted against the house, which produced a few grapes. Americo had an aha moment one day as he was playing in the garden and a bountiful one at that, and thought about another place that would be better for growing grapes, out came the shovel, and the vine was transplanted beside a fence where to date that vine has grown and spread its wings bringing us quite an abundance of grapes. I can see where Loreto gets his drive, just like his father he is quick to act on those aha moments.
It’s funny every year we are all amazed at this miracle that makes a not so suitable climate provide an explosion of little dark bunches of juicy grapes. Last year we made some Concord grape syrup that we used on pancakes, waffles, yogurt and smoothies. This year, the production was even more luscious and we thought to make Concord Grape Jelly sans pectin.
From our garden to your table, Concord Grape Jelly (pectin free).
I asked our fellow Canadian bloggers for a good, trusted recipe for Concord grape jelly and one of our blogger friends, Jen, from Mud on her Boots, sent me a recipe that she had used and felt it might help. It is a recipe from Bernardin, the mason jar’s maker. It is an easy recipe that only requires very few ingredients, a specific tool that makes your life easier and that we invested in buying, and a whole lot of patience.
In order to make the jelly, first you need to make the juice.
The aroma that comes off the stove is amazing (and a bit intoxicating). That sweet floral grape scent reminds us of the winemaking season, which Loreto is in the process of doing these days. I stirred and crushed the grapes with a wooden spoon releasing all those luscious juices and I am really excited to get this Concord Grape jelly made.
Loreto purchased this Jelly strainer from Barb’s Kitchen, a place in Edmonton where you can go to find anything to do with cooking, from utensils, pots, pans, dried goods and baking needs, plus a whole lot more. If you are a foodie and ever in Edmonton, check out Barb’s Kitchen, you won’t be disappointed. One thing I wanted to say is that this process is quite messy especially when the juice drops splash and droplets go everywhere, and grape juice is not the easiest to get out! Loreto came to the rescue and wrapped plastic wrap around the legs and bowl, and there you have it, messy problem solved.
When all the juice has dropped, the next phase is pretty easy. A combination of the Concorde grape juice, sugar and lemon juice goes into a pot. We used a heavy cast pot which holds the heat nice and evenly. Bring this to a boil and what happens is this sheen starts to form on top and the bubbles get thicker and stronger and you know you are so close to the end. Look at that deep color so rich looking and I bet it tastes incredible.
Into some sterilized jars that amazing jelly goes, and on go the lids nice and tight, and into a canning pot with jars just covered with water and lid on the pot. Bring to boiling point, and the only thing left is to get them out using a jar tong that Loreto also bought at Barb’s Kitchen, let them cool, and put them on the shelf, well not all of them. After all, we have to try it!
I love the texture very Jello-like and so shimmery and deep in color. I toasted a slice of bread and slathered it with the grape jelly. One bite in and I am in awe at the intense, sweet but not too sweet, flavor of the jelly. It is like silk to my tongue and bite after bite I am experiencing that wonderful flavor of the Concord grapes. The best part is we know where they were grown, we definitely know that they are organic, and the most amazing thing is they were grown in a place where grapes are unheard of growing in. There are some things that can’t be explained, and so what! The fact remains this Concord Grape Jelly (Pectin Free) has amazing flavor and texture, and so it is!
Song of the day: Black – Pearl Jam.
- 8 cups grapes
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 cups grape juice
- 2 cups berry sugar
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Remove the stems, and gently wash and drain the grapes.
- In a large stainless steel pot, add the grapes and just enough water to cover them.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring and crushing the grapes occasionally, just until the grapes are softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer crushed grapes to a dampened jelly bag set over a bowl.
- Cover the sides with plastic wrap to avoid any splashing, and let drip for at least 2 hours or overnight to collect the juice.
- Wash jars and lids. Place jars in a big pot filled with water and heat to a simmer (180° F - 80° C). Place the lids after you turn off the water, when the water it's still hot but not simmering anymore.
- Keep them warm on a baking dish in a 250° F oven until ready to use.
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine the grape juice with the sugar and lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Boil hard, stirring frequently, and skimming off the foam, for about 20-25 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken and have that sheen on top.
- Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch space from the top.
- Wipe rim, put lid on and screw tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water, place lid on.
- Bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove lid and let cool for 5 minutes before taking jars out of canner and storing.
Remember that there is added time as you let the grapes drain the juice into a bowl. Anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
P.S. Making our recipes? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram: #sugarlovespices. You’re going to be in our gallery!
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