Nothing says fall like making homemade concord grape jelly. Intoxicating aroma, jewel-like color and sweet-tart taste appeal to all your senses.
Mother Nature dictated my priorities this past week-end.
I willingly obliged.
Now I have about twenty jars of Homemade Concord Grape Jelly.
snowed hailed in Montreal this week-end, and we also got our first frost warning of the year. Since I had no intention of making ice wine, I psyched myself up to harvest the remainder of the grapes in my backyard while I still could… and I used those grapes to make this wonderful jelly.
A couple of years ago, my husband built a pergola for the three different varieties of grapes he planted. Needless to say, we had a lot of grapes this year. I’ve been sharing with friends, family and neighbors over the past couple of months, and I still had so many leftovers.
As the warmer weather continued well into October, the grapes on the vine just became sweeter and sweeter. But alas, the inevitable is well on its way and so I picked those leftover grapes at last and made my favorite jelly this weekend!
This grape jelly recipe with pectin is really not a difficult process -you’ll just need to set aside a couple of hours, especially if you are lucky enough to be harvesting your own concord grapes.
As a side note, you might be wondering what I’m going to do with these twenty jars of concord grape jelly I made!
Well, I find that they are appreciated as hostess and holiday gifts. Autumn is the best time to prepare these food gifts… homemade strawberry jam, apple butter, vanilla pear butter, applesauce, sun-dried tomatoes, traditional basil pesto …the list just continues to grow.
Nutrition Tip: This Homemade Concord Grape Jelly is made with the extracted grape juice of Concord grapes, sugar and pectin. It provides you with an excellent alternative to a fat-free spread. Studies have shown that Concord grapes when eaten in their fruit form, provide us with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.
How to make grape jelly
You won’t believe how easy this is!
Step 1: The preparation
Making your own Homemade Concord Grape Jelly requires a few preparatory steps:
- Canning jars need to be washed and sterilized (place in 225 ° F oven for at least 10 minutes). I leave them in the oven until I am ready to fill them up.
- Lids also need to be sterilized; just 10 minutes in simmering water is all it takes. Leave them in the water until you need them.
- Grapes need to be properly rinsed, stemmed and crushed. I have often found spiders, spider webs and all sorts of creepy crawlers in the middle of mine… that’s what happens when no pesticides are used! I think it’s a fair trade-off. As I stem each grape, I also give it a gentle squeeze in order to separate the “meat” from the skin. I do this over the bowl in order to collect any juices that may be given off. Then, with the help of a potato masher, I crush the grapes. In total, we need about 3 pounds of grapes that have been removed from their stems.
Step 2: Extracting the grape juice
Once your grapes have been crushed, place them in a large saucepan along with ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to allow the grapes to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.
In the meanwhile, set your cheesecloth in a strainer (or use your jelly cloth if you have one) over a heatproof bowl. Pour prepared fruit and liquid in the strainer and allow to drip for a couple of hours. You need four cups of this strained liquid. The aroma of this concentrate is absolutely intoxicating!
Step 3: Combining the ingredients
It’s extremely important to measure the right amounts of grape juice and sugar– otherwise, your jelly may turn out too thick or too thin.
That being said, combine 4 cups of extracted grape juice with 7 cups of granulated sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
Bring your mixture to a boil, add in the CERTO pectin (liquid) and stir for exactly one minute. Do not get burned here!
Once that is done, remove the pot from the heat and skim the foam for approximately 5 minutes. I find this to be a two-person job, though it can be done alone. I usually enlist the help of my daughter… she stirs while I skim.
Step 4: Canning
Ladle the jelly immediately into your sterilized hot jars. Remember to leave about ¼ inch of headspace. Place a sterilized lid and screw on the top.
The final part is processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
When you hear the seals of the jar lids popping, you’ll know you’ve done a good job!
How to use it
This Homemade Concord Grape Jelly is great on toasted bread, bagels, homemade scones, buttermilk biscuits, rolls or pancakes. Not to mention savory-sweet dishes like this recipe for these Super Easy Baked Chicken Thighs.
This summary is based on the recipe which I found years ago on the CERTO website. The original recipe did not require any butter, and so I do not use any (interesting enough, Martha Stewart also uses Certo to make her grape jelly… I guess that means I’m doing it right!)
Have fun making your grape jelly.
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★★★★★ If you have made this Grape Jelly recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Homemade Concord Grape Jelly
Extracting the juice:
- 3 pounds grapes removed from their stems and washed
- ½ cup water
Making the jelly:
- 4 cups extracted grape juice
- 7 cups sugar granulated
- 1 pouch Certo fruit pectin liquid
Extracting the juice:
- Place grapes in a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add water.
- Crush the grapes with a potato masher. This will help speed up the extraction process.
- Bring the grapes to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir occasionally.
- In the meanwhile, sterilize jars and caps (for details refer to post section on THE PREPARATION).
- Pour the cooked grapes, in a jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to drip for a couple of hours.
Making the jelly:
- Combine the extracted grape juice and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Over high heat, stir together until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Add the pouch of Certo and continue to stir the boiling mixture for 1 minute.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir and skim the foam for approximately 5 minutes.
- Ladle the jelly immediately into the hot sterilized jars. Leave ¼ inch of headspace. Place a sterilized lid and screw on the top.
- The final part is processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
- When you hear the seals of the jar lids popping, you'll know you've done a good job!
Have used your recipe twice this season and our Concord grape jelly turned out perfectly. I don’t pluck the grapes from the stems – just throw the entire washed batch into the pot and crush them. Then easily pick the loosened stems out as I’m heating up the juice and prior to straining. Got the idea from a farm woman’s old recipe. Will try the butter trick also. Thank you.
That is a great time-saving tip! Thanks so much for sharing Beth!
Easy and delicious! My family and friends that I have gifted a jar too LOVE this recipe! Highly recommend!
So thrilled to read this! Thanks so much for sharing Tammy!
Hi Maria- If you opted to add the 1/2 teaspoon of butter that is recommended in modern recipes you could have saved you and your daughter’s tedious five minutes of skimming the jelly.
Thanks for the info Mike! Will give it a try!