You know grape jelly? That essential ingredient of childhood sandwiches and also the flavor of childhood medicine? It has a very distinctive flavor that until recently I referred to as “fake grape” or “purple flavored”. Despite purple being my favorite color, I hated that too strong taste. And the actual grapes I had encountered in real life never tasted like that. That’s probably true for a lot of people I think. So imagine my surprise when I got grapes in my CSA basket.
Aside from the fact that grapes aren’t commonly grown in Oklahoma, these were fragrant. They filled up the kitchen with their scent once I got them home. And you know what they smelled like? Grape jelly! Seriously! I had true concord grapes sitting in my kitchen.
The first batch I took to a friend’s house to eat as a snack. And they tasted all right, but they had these annoying little seeds in them. Now I understand why they are typically made into jelly.
These were my first attempt at jelly making. I normally prefer jams because you don’t have to worry about pectin and such generally. I followed the recipe for Concord Grape Jelly with Green Apples from Canning for a New Generation. The photos here are from my second, much smaller attempt. The first attempt, I might have overcooked the jelly. I won’t be sure until I open the jars. This second batch I did not can; it went straight into the fridge when it was done.
Definitely put on your aprons for this one, and I wore gloves while cleaning and squeezing the grapes.
One of the neat things about this recipe is that it uses green apples to boost the pectin content for the jelly. I love this, because it feels more natural to me than buying a packet of instant pectin. However, I have so little experience with jellies, that I’m not sure how it’s supposed to behave. Jams seem a lot more straightforward by comparison.
We tried this on toast the following weekend. I might have also overcooked this one? The texture is strange compared to store-bought jellies. It’s very spreadable and soft, and Andrew and I prefer it to the clumpy nature you usually see.
If anyone has experience making jellies, I’d love to know. I tried googling, but it seemed that for most people overcooked jelly went to hard candy mode and I didn’t see a lot of photos of the finished product being used.