canning

Grape Jam

grape jam

Did you know there are 8,000+ varieties of grapes worldwide? Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated crops and it’s believed that Columbus brought grapes to North America from Europe. Although grown mostly for wine making, in the mid 1800’s the first commercial table grape vineyard was started in California.

It’s thought that, with California’s 550 grape farmers, 98% of fresh grapes in the US, are grown here!  What?  That is pretty crazy.  Especially with the drought we are experiencing.  Many varieties come into season July through December.  (Of course, now a-days you can buy them in the grocery store year round, but eating seasonally ensures the most delicious produce by far.)

grape jam

I was recently gifted a gorgeous selection of grapes from Melissa’s Produce, who distributes grapes for Grapery, whose owner and CEO are fourth and fifth generation farmers respectively, in California’s Central Valley.  My family, of course, devoured many of them but I also roasted a bunch of grapes for a salad and the rest I made into this grape jam.

I decided to add all four varieties into the jam to see where the flavors would go and it turned out delicious.  Of course, you can use what you have though.  Concord is the most popular but this is what I had: (Muscato’s are very similar to Concords.)

grape jam_0002

I know someone is bound to ask, and the answer is: No, I did not peel them!  And it still turned out fantastic.  (I even told someone I was going to make it without peeling them and he said, “You can’t do that!”, which of course made me want to do it even more.) I think the tartness of the skin helps cut the sweetness, so the trick is to just blend it up really well.

But first I added the sugar and lemon juice…

grape jam

Then I used an immersion blender to blend it all up.  If you don’t have one of these, you could do this in your food processor first then put it in your pot.

grape jam_0006

This is the consistency I wanted but if you want some bigger chunks, just blend a little less. I think I’ll try that next time for a more rustic, artisan product.

grape jam

While the jam was cooking, I put a plate in the freezer for my end stage test and started sterilizing my jars. Make sure to stir frequently, and as the jam boils you’ll want to skim off any foam you can.

grape jam

From what I understand, having some under ripe grapes will help with the natural pectin, but this batch rendered down nicely, although it took a little while – about an hour.

I’m still new to preserve making so I used a thermometer (220F/105c is the setting point for jam) and did the freezer test as well to make sure it was ready… and that I didn’t screw it up! (Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more on this.) Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe off the rims, add lids, and bring to a boil for 10 minutes (these are 8oz jars).

grape jam

grape jam

Let cool on a towel and just check your lids to make sure they have sealed properly. (If you ever have a jar that doesn’t seal, that’s okay, just put it in your fridge and eat that one first.) Label and date it and you are set!  This recipe made 5 8oz jars.  (Yes, both those sizes are 8oz… don’t you love that I can answer your questions before you even ask???)
grape jam

And guess what I had for breakfast the next morning? Yum!

grape jam

grape jam_0011

grape jam

Grape Jam

5 8oz jars

Grape Jam

If you don't have an immersion blender, you can add the ingredients to a food processor to blend, then add to your pot.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds seedless grapes
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tbs fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Prepare your canning jars
  2. Add grapes, sugar and lemon juice into a large pot
  3. Over a med heat, stir to combine
  4. Insert immersion blender below surface and blend to desired consistancy
  5. Stir often, skimming off foam when need be
  6. Boil until mixture reaches 220° and/or passes the freezer test
  7. Ladle jam into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace
  8. Wipe off rims with a clean damp cloth
  9. Top with lids and process for 10 minutes
  10. Transfer to towels to cool
  11. Label and date

Notes

Remember that the jam will thicken more as they cool

http://farmtotablela.com/grape-jam/

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Organizing your Canning Supplies
    September 19, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    […] ready to can whenever the urge strikes. This is what I have right now, after a summer of making jams, preserves, and other canned goodies. I thought I’d really like the blue Ball jars, and I do […]

  • Reply
    Nicola
    March 31, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Hi,
    I am loving the no-peel and blending option here. just wondering if you had seeds in your grapes? did you try to remove these or just mix them in with the rest?

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      March 31, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Nicola, I choose grapes that were seedless as I thought that would just be soooo much easier! I would try to not use them if at all possible. Less work.

  • Reply
    Deb
    October 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Can you explain the freezer test please ?

  • Reply
    Marwa
    November 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe! I am brand new to canning, and I have a question that sounds very silly. Do you fill the jars, add the lids, then bring the filled jars to a boil for ten minutes? If yes, why do you do so?

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      November 8, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Hi Marwa, There’s no such thing as a silly question… especially when it comes to food safety!So yes, after cooking the jam and sterilizing the bottles, I am still doing a water bath for ten minutes in boiling water. This helps ensure that any lingering bacteria that was in the fruit or empty jars, will be killed off. Food safety is a huge part of canning so I’m really glad you asked this question. Hot water baths is a step I never skip. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dragica Lord
    March 4, 2017 at 10:52 am

    HI I have been canning for years and thought Id try this and its still cooking but afraid its not going to gel…help

  • Reply
    Dragica Lord
    March 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

    It wasnt going to set so I just added sure gel and its seems fine

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      March 4, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Hi Dragica. As mentioned in the article, this one did take about an hour to render down as it has a high water content but I’m so glad you added the sure gel to make it work for you. Enjoy!

    • Reply
      charles
      September 30, 2017 at 7:48 am

      Greetings Dragica. I am about to start making some grape jam. What is sure gel & is it something that you can buy at the local supermarket. I live in Cape Town-South Africa

      • Reply
        Farm to Table
        September 30, 2017 at 10:32 am

        Hi Charles, Dragica was concerned that her jam wasn’t going to gel on it’s own so she added sure gel, which is a brand name of pectin here in the states. I do not use pectin when I make grape jam as grapes are naturally high in pectin. Grapes have a high water content through, so it might take awhile to render most of the moisture out. You can add pectin if you would prefer, but this recipe doesn’t call for it. If you do use it, just purchase what ever brand you can find in your local store and follow the directions on the package. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    mary
    November 3, 2017 at 7:38 am

    how many cups of sugar to cups of liquid pulp do you use making the jam? i do not want to use the sure gel and every recipe has pounds .

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      November 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Hi Mary, I don’t measure grapes per cup because of their shape – it would be different each time you measured. It’s always safer to measure their weight. 😊

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 15, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Can this recipe be used without canning and keeping in frig instead and if so any idea how long it would keep? Many thanks.

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      November 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Laura. Yep, you sure can. Without the water bath, jams can last up to 3 three weeks in the fridge or up to a year in the freezer. If you do freeze it, make sure to use wide mouth jars, not the type with ‘shoulders’ that taper in.

  • Reply
    Kerry
    November 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Hello, I was so excited to make this jam and followed the instructions precisely even using a candy thermometer to ensure it reached temperature but my Jam didn’t gel upon cooling. I used seedless red grapes cooked in a heavy stainless steel pot on a gas stove. It all seemed to be going really well but I have something more resembling a sweet red grape sauce. Is there anything I can do at this point? Should I open all of the jars and boil the mixture again? I’d appreciate any insights you can offer. Many thanks in advance.

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      November 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Kerry. Oh booooo! Grapes have a super high water content that needs to be rendered out. As mentioned in the article, it took at least an hour for mine to be ready. Fixing runny jams is easy though so don’t get rid of it! (This ‘sauce’ could be delicious on pancakes, ice cream, etc… though, so give that some thought too.) First, make sure you’ve waited at least two days before deciding it’s too runny, as it can take that long sometimes to set up. If it’s still runny, add it back into a wide pot and bring back up to a boil to render more moisture out of it. You can then decide if you want to try it again without pectin, or add some pectin if you want to make sure you get the set you want this time. If you do pectin, I would do the no sugar variety at this point so you don’t add more sweetness. (Make sure to re-sterilize your jars and use new lids.)

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