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Concord Grape Jam

October 17, 2011

Concord Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jam

I’m spoiling you.  I love to spoil the people I like.  I like you so you get spoiled, is that okay?

I have been trying to get my hands on concord grapes for a while.  I have wanted to make concord grape jam for a really long time.  Guess what?  I found concord grapes at the Hubbards Farmer’s Market this weekend.  I was so excited I almost peed myself.  Okay, I am exaggerating but only a little.  You see I had intended on making concord grape jam over a month ago only to have my intentions crushed.  I placed a special order with one of the food distributors at work but they did not have any in stock.  Apparently concord grapes are hard to find.  Who knew?  I had to put the idea on the back burner, its not something that is easy for me.  When I have my heart set on doing something I get very disappointed when things don’t go the way I want them to.  I’m glad that things worked out the way they did.  I love supporting local farmer’s and the market.  I would much rather see my money go to a local who has taken the time to grow such lovely produce than to a supermarket franchise.  You know what I mean?!  My only gripe is that I did not pay any attention to the name of the farm that I purchased the grapes from.  I wanted to share it with you but I was so excited to see concord grapes that I didn’t see a name for the farm. My apologies.  Next time I’ll try to pay more attention.

When you’re purchasing concord grapes they should have a natural whitish powder on their skin (just like blueberries), this is a great indicator of their freshness. After grapes are harvested they lose their “powdery look” as they age. They will begin to look lackluster and dull.

Pick up a bunch of grapes and gently shake them, if a large percentage of fruit falls off the bunch this is a sign of age. Not necessarily bad though if the fruit is still firm. Squeeze a grape between your fingers and ensure they feel firm, not soft or mushy. These two varieties get soft quickly and should be kept refrigerated or in your cold room.

The vine should be light brown or greenish, not shriveled or black in color. The stems of the grapes should be green, occasionally you may see a moldy, brown, raisiny, wrinkled or greenish grape on a bunch, this is NORMAL and doe not mean the bunch is bad.

If the grape bunches are sticky, this usually means the fruit is old or overripe and should be avoided unless you are making jam or wine. The “taste test” is always best, pop one in your mouth and savor their wonderful flavor. You will not die from eating an unwashed grape! This information and much more may be found at THE PRODUCE BLOG by Rick Chong.  It is a very informative site.

Concord Grape Jam

Ingredients

5 lb Concord grapes, stemmed
4 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: 7 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids and screw bands; a boiling-water canner or an 8- to 10-qt deep pot; an instant-read thermometer; fine mesh sieve

Preparation

Sterilize jars:
Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars on a rack in canner or deep pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, leaving jars in water. Heat lids in water to cover by 2 inches in a small saucepan until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Remove from heat, leaving lids in water. Keep the jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.

Cook jam:
Chill 2 small plates (for testing jam).

Slip skins from grapes and purée skins with 1 cup sugar in a food processor, then transfer to a 4- to 6-quart wide heavy pot. Stir in lemon juice, peeled grapes, and remaining  3 1/2 cups sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently and skimming foam, until pulp is broken down, about 20 minutes. Force jam through a fine mesh sieve or a food mill set over a large bowl. Discard remaining solids. Return jam to pot and cook at a slow boil, skimming foam occasionally and stirring frequently as mixture thickens to prevent scorching, 35 minutes, then test for doneness.

To test jam, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful on a chilled plate and chill 1 minute. Tilt plate: Jam should remain in a mound and not run. If jam runs, continue cooking at a slow boil, testing every 5 minutes, until done, up to 25 minutes more.

Seal, process, and store jars:
Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute, then invert. Ladle jam into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top. Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, then top with lids and firmly screw on screw bands. Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer jars to a towel-lined surface to cool.

Jars will seal; if you hear a ping, it signals that vacuum formed at the top of cooling preserves has made lid concave. Remember that you may or may not be around to hear that ping (some jars make the sound after you remove them from water, and others in same batch may take a few hours); the important thing is for jars to eventually have concave lids. Preserves will thicken as they cool.

After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it’s concave, then remove screw band and try to lift off lid with your fingertips. If you can’t, lid has a good seal. Replace screw band. Put any jars that haven’t sealed properly in the refrigerator and use them first.

Note:   Let jam stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop. · Jam keeps in sealed jars in a cool dark place 5 to 6 months.

From Epicurious.com

Makes 6 or 7 ~ 1/2 pint jars

Concord Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jam

I served this jam with Old Fashioned White Bread which is absolutely lovely.  This jam tastes just like Welch’s Grape Juice.  It is amazing, a little time consuming but totally worth every second.

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 7:09 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I just finished a carton of concord grapes, wish I had this recipe before they all disappeared!

    • October 17, 2011 7:11 pm

      Thank you Danielle! So, sorry it was late, you should go buy some more and make this, you won’t regret it.

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