Ah, grape jelly. To me, nothing goes better with peanut butter, than grape jelly. It's so smooth. There's no chunks, no seeds. It's one of my favorites.
I had no intentions of making grape jelly this year. To be honest, I had no interest in jelly because it sounded like a lot of work to get the juice out, and I wasn't too excited about it being a 2 day process. Well, after I was offered free grapes from my aunt (the master gardener I mentioned in a previous post), I knew I had to make some grape jelly.
I did some googling about how to make grape jelly. I thought I'd give a no pectin version a try. I did refer to Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry. Here's the process I went through on my grape jelly experiment.
I went to my aunt's house and picked about 7 1/2 pounds of grapes. I washed them and picked off the overripe grapes. This was a long process, and I ended up doing it in 2 batches due to my lack of patience.
I ended up with about 9 cups of grape juice. I had stored the processed juice in the fridge for 24-ish hours. As it sat, it developed crystals on the container. After some good ol' Google research, I learned that they are tartrates. They aren't harmful and aren't supposed to affect the taste.
I poured 1/2 of the juice into a pot. I slowly brought it up to boiling and added 3 cups of sugar. I kept waiting for it to thicken, but it just wasn't happening. I thought maybe I just didn't notice. So, I did the plate test, but it definitely wasn't ready. I cooked it for about 2 more minutes, and did the plate test again. Fail. Hmmm...Now what? I went to the cabinet and grabbed a package of No Sugar Added Pectin. I mixed it in, and did the plate test again. This time it worked. Yay! I processed them for 10 minutes in the waterbath canner.
On the second batch (remember, I had 9 cups, and you aren't supposed to double a jelly recipe because it probably won't set properly), I didn't even try to not use pectin. I followed the directions on the pectin insert. It went more smoothly. The first batch took about 3 days to fully set. The second batch was set within 24 hours.
Another kid tested recipe! Another success!