9/30/08

grape ape

tonight i made some more grape jelly. the first batch overcooked and it resembles hard candy. i hope to figure out how to salvage it at a later date, but the second batch was a success--or at least i thought so. i found that i probably cooked the first batch too long (too hot) and got to the softball stage. oh well, lesson learned. the really cool thing though about these grapes is that they contain natural pectin, so i didn't have to add any. everyone keeps telling me you need this enormous amount of sugar or you can't make grape jelly. most say 1:1. some say 7:5 (sugar to juice) but i tried it 1:2. in other words i used 1/2 the amount of sugar to grape juice. these were Concords and already very sweet right from the vine.

NOTE: I DID NOT add any pectin.

1. i de-stemmed and simmered the grapes in water (1 cup for every quart of grapes) for about 20-30 minutes and squished in the pan with a potato masher to help expel more juice.
2. i strained the grapes through a colander and then ran the remaining skins and pulp through a food mill.
3. i took all the juice from both strainings and added the sugar 1:2 (sugar:juice).
4. i boiled the juice stirring constantly and monitoring with a candy thermometer. when the mixture reached exactly (to the point) 8 degrees past the boiling point of water for your altitude (mine is 212 degrees) and removed it from the heat immediately to prevent over cooking as i did with the first batch.
5. i immediately spooned into ready (sterile and hot) canning jars and allowed to cool and seal with no water bath. as it cooled it jelled nicely and tasted wonderful and not too sweet.

now for the funny part. i took a spoonful of the 2nd batch to my husband for comparison as he had already tried the first batch which was so thick he had to chew it. his response to me was...

"it tastes like grapes."

imagine my dismayed reply

"i know it tastes like grapes."

then he looked at me somewhat bewildered and i began to grunt like a caveman at him while frantically beating my chest. he responded,

"now, you're learning."

"too bad, i have no idea what i said."

"and i thought you were into learning all about this communication"

to which i replied with another few grunts and walked off back to my kitchen where i could converse with my toaster oven.

1 remarks: on "grape ape"

Mrs. B said...

I'm glad it turned out for you.... It can be done without adding the pectin, it's just being more careful on the temps... I'm glad you got it figured out.
The first time I ever made jam I cooked it way to long and it is like rubber cement.... We still used it though. We would nuke it for a few seconds and it would spread pretty well (if you don't mind it being a little warm).

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