Nothing is better than homemade, and making your own homemade jelly is not as difficult as you might think. I have made raspberry, strawberry, and grape jellies, and I wanted to share how to make grape jelly with you so you can give it a try and make some yourself. I like making my jelly because it doesn't contain the high fructose syrup most store-bought jelly contains. I also use a non-water bath method of preserving the jelly and the jelly will last safely in the refrigerator for 6 months or stored in freezer-safe canning jars for a year in the freezer. Then you pull the jelly out of the freezer and pop it into your fridge, and it will defrost in a day or two and be ready to use.
Type of grapes to use
If you have wild grapes or grow your grapes, you can use them, otherwise, you will need to purchase grapes from your local farmers' market or grocery store. While concord grapes are the best variety for making jelly, you can also use any type of red grapes to make jelly. If they have seeds, it isn't a problem because you will be straining out the seeds. You should avoid using green or white grapes because while they are good to eat, they don't make as flavorful a jelly as red grapes.
- large stainless steel pot
- large glass bowl or measuring cup
- glass canning jars and lids
- funnel to use with the canning jars
- 3 1/2 pounds of grapes that are washed and pulled off the stem
- 6 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 box of Sure Jell pectin
You will make the grape juice by adding your grapes to your pot and adding a cup of water to the pot.
Cover the pan and bring it to a boil. Once the mixture starts boiling turn down the heat to simmer (low) and set the timer for ten minutes. This photo is what it looks like after it has come to a boil. You can see the grapes are breaking down nicely.
The photo above is what the mixture looks like after ten minutes of simmering. You can see how nicely the grapes broke down and all of the seeds and grape skins.
Strain the mixture through the sieve over the glass measuring cup or bowl and squish it with the back of a spoon to get all the juice out. Once you have pushed all the juice possible out of the mixture discard the grape skin mixture into a bowl to cool down so you can dump it into your trash or if you have a compost bin like I do it's perfect to add to your bin.
Take the juice you just made and measure out 5 cups and add it back to your pot. Add the pectin and mix well. Turn the burner to high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil stirring the mixture constantly. You need to make sure to keep stirring and keep an eye on it and take it off the heat otherwise it's going to boil over all over your stove and make a big mess.
Stir in the 6 cups of sugar and return your pan to the heat. Bring the mixture back to another full rolling boil and you will boil it again for another five minutes stirring it constantly. Be careful while working with the mixture as it is very hot and you need to be careful and watch it closely. Once the minute is up pull it off the heat and skim the foam off the top with your ladle.
Step 6: Using your funnel ladle the mixture into your canning jars leaving 3/4 inch of headroom for expansion in the freezer. Let the jelly cool completely then you can seal them with canning lids and rings and add labels if you choose. Your jelly will last in the fridge for a month or in the freezer for a year. Just make sure the jars you are using are freezer-safe jars if you are going to freeze your jelly.
I used the smaller 4-ounce quilted Ball glass jars for my jelly and I made a few pint-sized ones too. If you choose to use the smaller jars like I did you will have more. If you use the pint-sized you will make less. I find the 4-ounce is the perfect size to use in a month for 1-2 people and the pint-size can be used in a month by a family. Since you can freeze them you can have longer to use them. They also make very nice Christmas gifts or add them to a gift basket with some crackers and other snacks and add a bag of flavored coffee, tea, or cocoa for a birthday gift for relatives, friends, and co-workers. Of course, they also just make a nice treat to surprise someone with.
Finished grape jelly
Once you taste your jelly you will never want to go back to buying jelly from the grocery store. Let me know how your jelly comes out if you make some and if you have a different recipe or method feel free to share how you make grape jelly in the comments so others can try your recipe.