Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grape Jelly

You know that horrifying artificial flavor that you find in purple tootsie pops and Dimetapp?

Well, I always wondered what dumbhead decided to call this flavor "grape" because it tastes nothing like any grape I have ever eaten. That was until we grew real grapes. You can smell them from a bazillion miles away and they actually smell like "grape". I mean that artificial grape flavor. Only better. I mean, now I can see what the tootsie pops and Dimetapp are trying to pull off. Failing of course, but at least now I can understand where they're coming from.

As beautiful and pleasantly smelly as these grapes are, you don't eat them. They're way too seedy and slimy inside and the skin is too tough. But they do make nice juice. Juice that can be used for drinking, jelly, or wine. Haven't tried making wine yet. Someday I'll have a sudden stroke of bravery and do it.

There's Cookie. She helped me pick the grapes. So did Piggie. She even decorated my bellybutton.

Ahem. Yes.

Anyways, you don't have to have homegrown grapes to make this jelly. You don't have to have grapes at all. You can just use regular old grape juice. Just make sure it's not sweetened. Jelly is persnickety like that. You have to have just the right amounts of everything or it won't jell.

This is the recipe that comes with the box of pectin.

Grape Jelly 
Makes about 7 cups

3 cups grape juice (from about 1 1/2 quarts of grapes)
1/2 teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming)
1 box fruit pectin
5 1/4 cups sugar

If you're using real grapes, I like to cook them down till they burst and then mash them with a potato masher and then strain them with some cheesecloth. Combine the juice, butter, and pectin in a pot on the stove. Bring to a full boil. Stir in the sugar and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into jars. Seal tightly. I put it in the freezer because I don't want to have to worry about sterilizing the jars.


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