Wild Grape Jelly

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Wild grapes growing among the mock orange

Wild grapes are so plentiful on our farm that they are a nuisance.  Wherever the seeds land, new vines spring up.  Songbirds plant them.  While it was another dismal year for our domestic grapes, the wild grapes grew a bumper crop.  So I decided to try making wild grape jelly.g2  The bunches of fruit hold grapes about 3/8″ in diameter.  The juice is plentiful and deep purple-red.g5

I gathered all the bunches I could find, thus saving ourselves from a lot of weed grapevine removal down the road, and filled a big pan to overflowing with fruit.g3  Placing a few bunches at a time in layers of cheesecloth, I crushed them by hand to extract the juice.  The pan full of grapes yielded eight cups of juice. Because the juice held considerable crushed pulp in suspension, I let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple days to settle.g4  I poured off six cups of clear juice before hitting the sediment. Coincidentally, six cups is exactly the amount of juice needed to make a recipe of jelly!

I like to use reduced sugar pectin for jam and jelly making. Six cups of juice required 4.5 cups of sugar.  For this recipe I used all-natural Florida sugar that has a pale tan color.  The pectin is mixed with 1/2 cup of the sugar then stirred into the juice.  After the juice is heated to a full boil,the rest of the sugar is added.  The juice is returned to a full, rolling boil and stirred for one minute.  Then the jelly is skimmed to remove foam and ladled into clean, warm canning jars.  I use a ten minute hot water bath, gentling boiling the water in the canner of filled jars, to sterilize the jelly.g6

After the jelly cooled and the jars sealed, I had 8.5 cups of wild grape jelly.  I opened one to sample the wares.g7  The wild fruit has unbelievable flavor compared to domestic grapes, rich and faintly reminiscent of currants or mulberries.  The jelly is a bit piquant for my husband’s tastes (he loves sweets) so I would probably add another 1/2 to one cup of sugar to the recipe if I want him to eat it.  I think it’s delicious the way it is and very tasty on toast!

Wild Grape Jelly

About 10 lbs small wild grapes, pressed to yield 6 cups fresh juice

2 boxes Reduced Sugar powdered pectin

4.5-5.5 cups granulated sugar.

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4 thoughts on “Wild Grape Jelly

  1. Gorgeous jelly! I do not recall any wild grapes years ago when we all lived at the farm. It looks very yummy and brilliant coloured.

  2. Thanks Mums. I’ve always found wild grapes growing in the woods. Birds spread them all over the yard, especially after I let a vine grow on the side of the barn for a couple years.

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