Gathering Grapes

In summer’s past we had a concord grape vine that offered us many gallons of grapes. We had enough for me to make a couple batches of jelly and also to can some quarts of grape juice. We liked the homemade (and organic) grape juice so much that we planted a few more grape vines. They are still babies, and unfortunately our original vine (that we brought with us seven years ago from California) finally died over the winter. This week I gathered together two and a half pounds of concord grapes, but I needed four for jelly, according to the recipe on the liquid pectin box.

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Grape juice, sugar and a teaspoon of pectin just before boiling point.

What we have plenty of, climbing the trees at the edge of the woods, are wild muscadine grapes that are just beginning to get ripe. This morning I gathered a pound and a half of muscadines, added them to the concord grapes, and made my jelly. It’s setting up now. If the bits stuck to the pot are stiff, then you know that your jam or jelly will set.

I’ve been making jams and jellies for years now, but never ventured far from the recipes that come with the pectin, (although once I made watermelon jam with the cast off watermelon from the juicer, and it was really, really good.) I personally prefer the liquid pectin, but I keep a jar of pectin powder in the fridge and add a teaspoon with the sugar. I do this because sometimes my jam or jelly doesn’t set when I use the recipe amount, (usually a whole pouch.) The additional teaspoon of pectin is like insurance…

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