This is the third year since we planted our grapes. I give them (and everything in our yard) worm castings and water. Nothing else. And they are thriving.
Below is Zoe sitting with the first basket so you can get a sense of how many grapes there are. We don’t own a scale, but I am guessing that this basket weighs at least 30 pounds.
I searched around the blogosphere, and decided that most people make grape jam one of three ways. 1) With added pectin. 2) With tons of sugar. Or 3) By separating the skin from the innards and including the skin in the jam.
The reason that including the skin works is because the skin contains pectin. You can read a great post about it by my friend, Beth, HERE.
I didn’t want to separate the skin from the grape innards though. And I was determined to make this jam without added pectin or tons of sugar. Hmm…
After three tries I came up with a grape jam that I am so happy with. It’s tart, not overly sweet, and intensely grape. I thickened it by adding agar powder. If you use this method but leave out the agar powder it will still be super yummy, just not as thick as jam. I fondly refer to my first few tries (without the agar powder) as “grape butter.” —It’s great on pancakes and ice cream.
I have to give special thanks here to my friend, Linda, who gave me this fantastic spoon (at the top). I adore it!
Add to large pot:
about 14 cups of grapes (I used grapes with seeds from my yard – I haven’t tried using store bought)
Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, mashing them down frequently.
Pour into a strainer that is set over a large mixing bowl.
Use a flexible spoonula to press as much liquids and pulp through the strainer as possible.
Add to the pot:
4 cups of grape juice/pulp from above (I don’t know if this recipe would work with store bought juice, like Knudsen Just Concord. —I think it would require more agar powder.)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the liquids have reduced by half.
Add 1 to 1.5 tsp of agar powder (not flakes! you would need far more of the flakes)
Whisk while simmering for about one minute.
Store in mason jars in the fridge.
Makes 2 cups of grape jam.
I have made much more, so I have been canning mine. I used my friend, Ali’s canning instructions HERE.