Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grape Jelly

Sunday evening, I decided to pick over the rest of the grapevines and see what I could do with what was left. I'd already given out a few pounds of grapes to the CSA—nice bunches of the blue Mars slipskin grapes, which performed much better than the Canadice, though the Canadice are sweeter and have a tender skin.

Looking at the vines sporting some black rot and devastated by Japanese beetles, there didn't seem to be all that much there to work with. But by the time I was done harvesting every last bunch, I had a bushel basket full of grapes, which once stripped from their stems and hand selected, yielded more than 16 pounds of grapes. That's about as specific as I can be because my scale maxes out at 16 lbs. and I didn't jump on the bathroom scale to approximate any closer.

Here is the aftermath. I, of course, forgot to take pictures while in the midst of jelly making and CSA delivery day—silly me. Yesterday was pretty much a dawn to dusk work day between the two, and I didn't get to the pickles that I wanted to put up. (That'll be today's project, and I'll be trying the horseradish green trick to keep them crunchy.)

Because both varieties of grape that I used were seedless, I opted not to skin them as so many recipes call for. Instead, I put the whole grapes into my Vitamix and whirred them into a fine pulp, reserving, I hope, so much of the nutrition found in those grape skins. I skimmed much foam off the surface of the boiling liquid, but I didn't let it stand over night to remove any crystals, nor did I strain the liquid; so, we'll see if that affects the product at all. I also choose not to use pectin recipes, so this particular jelly may be a bit thin, but that seems to be the way everyone here prefers it. All told, I made 28 half pint jars of grape jelly. Not bad for a few two year old vines! We may have enough jams/ jellies to get through the winter after all...then again, probably not the way we go through it.


Christy said...

Wow! You have been busy. Did you hot water can all those jars? How long did that take? How big is your canning pot? I can only do 6 jars at a time.

Danielle said...

Yes, I did the water bath. I'm not sure how big it is—it's the traditional enamelware canning pot, so it's pretty big. It holds 7 quart jars at one time, and about ten half pint jelly jars. Part of the difference may be that you used those cute, fat little jars whereas I used the not-as-cute slim quilted jars.

Wendy said...

What a haul! We've never had much luck getting our grape vine to produce grapes. We get lots of leaves, but not much fruit. We think it needs more sun and will be working on remedying that in the next few years. I won't hold my breath for 16lbs (plus whatever you gave to the CSA), but six or seven jars of jelly or a couple of quarts of juice for the freezer would be nice.

Jenny said...

I just ate some of the jam this morning! Yum!

Yeah, I'm here at the farm.

Doin' the happy dance.....