Thursday, September 12, 2013

Concord Grape Freezer Jelly - From the Grapes.

The house we bought has come with some pretty fun surprises. We have grapes - two kinds of them. These purple concord grapes and some green table grapes. 
I haven't had any trouble figuring out what to do with the green grapes. I just go outside and pick them, bring them in and wash them and we gobble them down.

These purple grapes on the other hand, I haven't know what to do with them. They aren't good to eat, they are sour and kinda have a slimy texture under their skin. My parents grow them in their own yard and growing up we called them "booger grapes" and all we did was throw that at each other.
 I very much didn't want to waste them, and since I had them I figured I had better use them up.  I watched a few you tube videos on juicing concord grapes. That didn't look so hard. So I decided that is where I would start.  
I washed the grapes in the sink and then pulled them off their stems. 

Then I added them to a great big pot and cooked them down.  I used my potato masher to break up the ones that hadn't already popped open and to smoosh them into giving me all their juice. I used my biggest pot and added grapes until it was about half way full. ( I had so many grapes I had to do this process three separate times. Slowly heat the grapes until they are at a good simmer and then cook them for about 10 minutes. When they are done, you should start to get some foam along the top and the juice will be a gorgeous purple / blue color.
Prepare a colander lined with cheese cloth over a large bowl, or use a very fine sieve if you happen to have one.  Laden the cooked juice and grapes into the colander and let it strain until you are left with just mashed skins and seeds in the cheese cloth and all the juice had drained into your bowl.

I got the juice all done around noon and I didn't have to be anywhere until 2:30, so I decided I would hurry up and make the juice into jelly.  We aren't big juice drinkers around here and it made me sad to think that all my hard work was going to be guzzled down and probably not even liked because it didn't taste like "store juice".   

This is the recipe that I used, because it called for juice instead of the fruit. It turned out amazing. This morning we had toast with grape jelly and it was delicious. 

There are some things that I learned that I will do differently next year. Like being sure I cut the cheese cloth lots bigger than I think I need to. And to not use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture because it stained it purple. And to not wear a shirt that I care if I get grape juice splatters all over it.