Sunday, October 18, 2009

Grape Jam

A few weeks ago Doug and I went to the last Aurora Farmer's Market. I was excited to see Concord grapes from Michigan and brought home 2 quarts. You may remember that I made grape jelly a few weeks ago. It was made with the grapes in my yard that when purchased were supposed to be Concord, but they're not. My best guess is Scuppernong. Bummer. At least it's fun to say.

Since the weather has been so horrible as of late, it seemed a little out of season to be blogging about the really tasty grape jam I made. Today on this beautiful fall day, a day we so justly deserve, I felt I needed to strike while the iron was hot, or as sun is still shining, to share my adventures in grape jam-making.

When I was a kid, my friend Holly, had Concord grapes in her backyard. The aroma of these ripened violet jewels sends me back. I love their flavor and eating them off the vine. Snacks, free for the taking, without having to ask permission is thrilling as a child. I think this is why I have a few low producing raspberry brambles overtaking my tiny garden and try to plant yellow pear tomatoes every year.

A whole beautiful basketful!

The dusty bloom is a sign of freshness as are the fresh green, yes, green stems. When was the last time you saw green stems in the produce department?

Purple Concords and white Scuppernongs and Muscadines are considered slip skin grapes. The fleshy skin cleanly slips off the pulp. People complain sometimes about the skinning of grapes for preserving. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, but I enjoy every minute of it.

Stripped clean and ready to move onto the cooking process.

The skins and fruit are separated until the cooking.

Puree the skins with sugar and then turn out into a pan along with the fleshy centers. Bring the pot to a boil, and allow to simmer. Press the solids through a sieve, the seed are left behind and the grape mixture is returned to the cooking. Most often further cooking is needed to bring mixture to a proper jelling point.

Poured into sterile jars and processed as desired, you are done. If you'd like to try your hand at this jam check out The Hungry Mouse. Her photos and tutorial were immensely helpful and far more detailed than mine.

To me this project was easy, fun and very gratifying. If this little story inspires you to try it, I am so very pleased. What more can I want besides a peanut butter and grape jam sandwich?

No comments: