Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homemade Concord Grape Jam | Pinterest Thursday | Fayetteville, N.C. Photographer

 Ladies and Gentlemen! Presenting .... Sharilyn Wells Photography's Southern Bell Kitchen!  No, not really ... It's just Pinterest Thursday! Not saying Pinterest Thursday isn't exciting or anything, but I just have been lazy and not actually attempting the pins I've pinned! LOL

Anyway, I FINALLY attempted a pin and I sorta cheated. I pinned it AFTER I picked grapes with my family ... lol. I had to figure out what to do with the 4 pounds of grapes my son and husband picked since when I tried the purple concord grape I almost spit it out. (of course I didn't because I didn't want my son not liking the grapes just because I didn't -- there's something about that tough outside skin and the mushy inside. Blah).

 First, look at my cutie and his bunch of grapes! He was having a blast snipping away at the vines at Millstone Creek Orchards. We picked apples a year or two ago here and loved it ... so we came back for grapes and more apples ... we wanted peaches too, but they were already picked over. Oh well, next year!

Four pounds of grapes, can you believe it?! I was so pumped to just eat them, but I've never had concord grapes before and well, I am not a fan of just popping them in my mouth and eating them. So, we washed them, I pinned a simple recipe from Chef In You  (Pinned HERE) and we made delicious grape jam! And here's how we did it:
Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour 
  • 4 lbs ripe Concord Grapes
  • 4 cups Sugar
My assistant for the afternoon ... I love him. (missed focus on him, but he still looks adorable).

1) First we washed the grapes in cold water in a strainer.

2) We then had to squeeze all the insides out of the skin. Pretty gross visual ... son said it looked like alien brains ... I say they looked like boogers ... either way, it wasn't a pretty visual. But, it had to be done.

(My son and I wore gloves so that we wouldn't dye our hands purple/pink from the skins.)

3) Make sure to set aside the skins for later use. The skins are what give the jam a purple tint ... and I 'think' the sweetness ... but I'm not expert on that.

4) In about 30 minutes (me gagging and my son complaining it was boring) all 4 pounds of grapes were skin less and into a huge pot. Next, you need to bring the skinless grapes to a boil. You want them dissolved and REALLY mushy --  I mean, more mushy than ever!

5) Next, you want to pour the mushy grapes into a strainer and mush it through into another bowl. This ensures that you have no seeds in your jam. (If you pick/buy seedless grapes, I'm assuming this part can be skipped.

6) Pour the seedless mush back into your pot and then pour in the skins.

7) Bring to a boil, stir occasionally.

8) This is when you add your other ingredient ... SUGAR. I'm sure you could do without or substitute it with something else, but I followed the recipe to a "T" and didn't deviate (which is unusual for me LOL). Any way, the recipe called for 4 cups of sugar, she used 3. I had an extra pound of grapes than her, so I used 4 cups.

You want to warm the sugar in the oven at 150 degrees for like ... 4 minutes, just enough to warm it. I put it on a cookie sheet and placed in oven. Pull out sugar from oven and in cups, slowly stir in the sugar as the grapes boil (should be a "rolling boil").

9) Continue stirring constantly until jam is thick. The recipe has great tips on how to tell if the jam is ready or not ... I used the fridge test:

"Keep a plate in the freezer and remove it when I want to test. I then pour a small amount of the boiling jelly/jam on this plate and let it sit in the fridge for few seconds. If the mixture gels /mounds and wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it's done. If runny and it does not have a body to it, then continue to cook the jam for few more minutes until it clears the nudge test."
It took me about 40-45 minutes for my jam to be ready. I think it could'av been done earlier but I wanted to make sure those skins were mostly dissolved! LOL

10) Now comes the part I was a little nervous about ... the canning process. I've never canned before but guess what, Chef In You has an awesome canning blog about it as well! Look HERE. (Scroll to the bottom for the process).

I sterilized the jars in the dishwasher and as they were still warm, I funneled in the HOT jam. Watch your hands! You will burn them!

11) Once the jars are full, place lid on top and flip it upside down. I dunno why ... I just follow the directions. (I found that when I flipped them, the jar wasn't all the way full. I dunno how to fix that ... You guys have suggestions?)

12) With jars still HOT, boil another pot of water and place inside. This is the sealing process. I don't have a canner and didn't plan on buying one for my first attempt at canning. I mean, how did our ancestors do it without a specialized canner?! LOL That's why I loved this blog!

13) VERY carefully pull out the jars after about 5-7 minutes. Don't leave in too long or your jam will become soupy ... but leave in long enough so that the lids seal. I just left in for 5 minutes and made sure the lids didn't pop when pushed down. I used an opened jar lid to feel the difference. I also used a rubber, clapper looking oven mitt to grab the jars out of the water. I tried thongs ... but that was a disaster waiting to happen. I placed on a cookie cooler for about 3 hours to set.

14) I placed one in the fridge and the others in my pantry. The web site says they should last 4-6 months if sealed correctly ... but I don't see me going through that much jam. The neighbors may be getting nice homemade concord grape jam for Christmas this year ;-)

This recipe only has two ingredients, but wow! This jam is awesome! It's nice and sweet and *gasp* my son actually enjoys eating it (he's not a jelly/jam person).


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