This is the grape used for Concord grape wine and, of course, commercial grape jelly, the classic companion to peanut butter in sandwiches. The back roads around Hope, New Jersey, where my husband,
|Concord grapes (
Wash the grapes, drain, and stem them, discarding any bad grapes. Weigh or measure the amount of grapes needed.
Sterilize the canning jars by filling them with boiling water. Also pour boiling water over the inside of the lids. Set the rack in the bottom of the canning pot and bring enough water to a boil to cover the jars by
In a large saucepan, place the well-drained grapes and the water. With a potato masher or large fork, crush the grapes slightly. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer the grapes for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they have collapsed completely.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the pits and skins. You should have
Empty the pulp into a clean saucepan and stir in the sugar. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
Boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. As the conserve begins to thicken, lower the heat to a simmer to avoid scorching and stir constantly until it reaches the gelling point. (An instant-read thermometer should read 221° to 225°F/105° to 107°C.)
To test the thickness of the mixture without a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat and dip a large clean metal spoon into it. Let the liquid fall back into the pan. The last 2 drops should merge and sheet off the spoon. (Or place a tablespoon of the liquid on a chilled plate and freeze it for 2 minutes, or until cold. It should wrinkle when pushed gently with a fingertip.)
Pour the hot jelly into the sterilized jars, leaving
Concord grapes vary in acidity from year to year, which affects thickening. The jelly takes 2 days in the jar to thicken completely and should not be moved during this time. If, after that time, it has not thickened sufficiently, it can be emptied into a pan and cooked for a few minutes more to the proper gelling point.
In a dark area: cool room temperature, at least 2 years.
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