We planted a row of both purple and white grapes across the entire back of our property here in Umbria over the winter and since this was their first year of life in order to establish stronger plants my husband cut off all the grapes except two bunches per plant. We anxiously watched throughout the summer as they ripened looking forward to tasting our first grapes, but unfortunately it seemed the local birds were also watching because as soon as those grapes began to ripen we had to race to pick and eat the grapes before they did.
At one point tired of watching the birds devour our lovely grapes, we simply cut all the ripened purples grapes off the vines and brought them inside the house. Looking at this huge basket full of grapes I decided I would make grape jam since we certainly couldn’t eat them all before they spoiled. Although we do have three different varieties of purple grapes, the ones I used for the jam were tiny small ones that are especially sweet and delicious. I am not sure of the exact variety, but they resemble Concord grapes in color but are smaller in size so I would recommend using Concord grapes for this jam. I prefer not to use pectin if I can get away without it and found this jam cooked up nicely and became quite thick without the pectin. I must say that although I am not normally a fan of store bought grape jelly, I love the flavor of this jam.
One variety of our grapes just ready to pick!
Deborah Mele 2011
- 5 Pounds Concord Grapes, Stemmed
- 5 Cups Sugar
- Juice From One Large Lemon
- Clean and wash the grapes.
- In a heavy stock pot, stir together grapes, lemon juice, and sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently and skimming foam, until pulp is broken down, about 20 minutes.
- Force jam through food mill set over a large bowl to remove skins and seeds.
- Return jam to pot and cook at a slow boil, skimming foam occasionally and stirring frequently as mixture thickens to prevent scorching, 35 minutes, then test for doneness.
- You can test for doneness by dropping a teaspoon of jam onto a chilled plate and then tilt it. (Jam should not run but remain thick. If it hasn't set continue to cook in a slow boil and test every 5 minutes or so until set.)
- Pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch of air space, and then top with lids (also sterilized).
- Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches.
- Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes.
- With tongs, transfer jars to a towel-lined surface to cool.
- As they cool, you may or not hear a ping but the important thing is that the top of the jars remain concave.
- Store in a cool, dark place.
- The jam will thicken as it cools.
- Let jam stand in jars at least 1 day for flavor to develop.
- This jam will keep in sealed jars in a cool dark place for 6 months.