I bought these local concord grapes earlier this week. I had visions of using them in Jennie’s muffins…a recipe I’ve had my eye on for a long time.
But that was before I really understood just how annoying it is to seed concord grapes. Jennie discusses this in her post, and I prepared myself- at least I thought I did- but by the time I had seeded 1/2 cup of the grapes with my tiniest paring knife, I was beyond cranky. I knew I could not continue with that madness: I just don’t possess that kind of patience.
So it was time for Plan B…Concord Grape Jam.
I took to the interwebs as I always do before trying something new: I like to research the established methods for making things before marching off to my own recipe beat.
Most of the Concord Grape Jam recipes I saw involved first slipping the grapes out of their skins. While infinitely easier than seeding the grapes, I wasn’t up to this task at that moment, so decided to just process my grapes whole in my blender. I started with about 5 1/2 cups of grapes, and ended up with just over 4 cups of grape “mush”. Make sure you don’t process the grapes very much- you don’t want to pulverize the seeds…you just want to loosen them.
Then, I used a food mill to separate out the skins and the seeds. These went in my compost. If you don’t have a food mill, try straining through a cheesecloth lined sieve.
Next, I added some organic sugar (I used 2/3 cup but you could use more or less to your preference) and brought the liquid to a boil over high heat. I then reduced the heat a bit and cooked it down for about an hour, stirring every now and then. I watched my grape liquid like a hawk to make sure it didn’t burn, and the whole time it was cooking, I was pretty sure it would never thicken. I was convinced I’d just end up with a syrup.
But then I noticed that it had greatly reduced and was much thicker. Not jam thick, but quite viscous nonetheless. I turned off the heat at this point and allowed the grape goodness to cool so I could taste it, and make sure it was sweet enough (it was). And as it cooled, I was pleasantly surprised to see it morph into exactly what I was looking for.
I got 1 cup of jam out of this recipe: one deep purple cup of thick grape jam with incredible flavor. I’m not generally even a grape jelly/jam fan (the store-bought kind is too “gloppy” for me, not to mention it contains pectin and all sort of preservatives). But I really love this, especially since it’s make with just grapes and organic sugar. It’s a winner, for sure. Note that it thickened up even more in the refrigerator, though, so make sure you don’t cook in down too much over the stove, or you won’t be able to spread it.
I am storing this jam in the refrigerator and expect it to last for a month or two. If you want to make a larger batch of grape jam for canning, you’ll need to add lemon juice and use more sugar: this recipe from epicurious looks good.
More Concord Grape Jam Recipes: