Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Grape Jelly (No Added Pectin)

My husband planted a purple grape vine the year before we were married and we harvested a ton of grapes this year. It was a lot of work, but really great to get all these delicious grapes from our own yard. I believe it is a Concord grape vine, but not positive about that. The plant yields small, round, dark purple grapes with one or two seeds. The grapes themselves are sweet although the skins are a bit tart.

This year we picked all of them, cleaned them, and then froze them in gallon sized bags for future jelly making. The process of making jelly with seeded grapes is a long one that involves cooking down the grapes to strain off the skins and seeds. Here's a picture of our grapevine on a May morning, with little tiny grapes just starting out.

I am not a huge fan of processed pectin, so I was looking for a recipe that would not use processed pectin or added sugar. This recipe is my first try at it and a good, quick solution once the grapes are strained. This method is not sensitive to "amounts used" like traditional jelly recipes made with pectin and therefore can be easily doubled or tripled.
1 cup strained grapes (see "How To" and "Comments" below), with 1 tbsp. reserved.
1 tbsp. maple syrup (try to use Grade B, which is more nutritious)
1/2 tbsp. unflavored gelatin, I used Great Lakes unflavored beef gelatin
How To:
You can skip to #2 if you already have cooked and strained grapes.
1. Cook and strain grapes: Sort and wash grapes, removing stems and any damaged berries. In a large pot, add your grapes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Use a potato masher, or a large spoon, to crush the grapes as they cook. You can simmer for as little as 15 to 20 minutes or as long as an hour or so, depending on what else you are doing in the kitchen.
Let cool a bit and then strain the smooshy grape mixture through a cheesecloth (or colander or mesh) to extract the skins and seeds from the juice. If not using right away, pour juice into containers, let stand overnight in a cool place and then freeze or use. See "Comments" below regarding grape seeds and skins.
2. Make jelly: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring grape juice (1 cup less 1 tbsp.) to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. While the grape juice is warming up, mix 1 tbsp. of reserved grape juice and 1/2 tbsp. of gelatin in a small glass until there are no lumps. Set aside.

3. Finish jelly: If desired or needed, add 1 tbsp. of maple syrup to sweeten the jelly. Simmer 10-15 minutes on low and then add gelatin. Stir to mix well, remove from heat, and let cool a bit. Then transfer to a jar or container and refrigerate.    
Comments: I had 5 gallon-sized bags filled with grapes, which yielded about 17 cups of liquid grape juice after straining. Dividing that out indicates about 3.5 cups of juice will result from cooking down one grape-filled gallon sized storage bag. I would suggest that you cook up and strain the juice from however many grapes you have, store in 1 or 2 cup containers, and then apply this recipe to 1 or 2 cups of the strained juice. This is what I did, so I can make one or two cups of jelly as needed.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is so frugal. If you have your own grapevine, the cost is nearly nothing. Compare this to any store bought grape jelly, usually around $4.00 or $5.00 a jar, and you've got a definite win situation.
Grape seeds and skins - it felt like a huge waste to me to throw away my strained off skins and seeds but I was unable to find an easy use for them online. I did read this article from Dr. Mercola about the benefits of grape seeds and skins and it would seem like there should be some great way to use them. I found this article at Canyon Ranch's website, which discusses grape seeds for skin health. This article includes step by step instructions for making your own grape seed extract using the seeds and skins of grapes, and I will probably give this a try next year.
Please share any great ways that you use the skins and seeds in the comments below!
Follow me on Facebook or Google Plus!

This recipe was shared at Fat Tuesday, Traditional TuesdaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, and Thank Your Body Thursday. Please follow the links for more great recipe ideas!


  1. How lovely that you get so many grapes! Thanks so much for sharing this on WNWNW, Linda, I’ve pinned it : )

    1. Yes, we got a ton of grapes - it was great! Thanks for the comment!


Please say hello and let me know what you think! I read all my comments and would love to hear from you.....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...