Thursday, August 1, 2013

Concord Grape Jam

 Okay! This is my first gape jam, ever! And this is such a shame, because our one and only Concord grape vine has produced plentiful of beautiful grapes every year. I have done nothing with them but eating them fresh from the vine. The hubby and I could only eat so much and it’s always plenty of over ripened and dried grapes left on the vine. What a shame!

So, this year I have come to the conclusion that I needed to stop taking those grapes for granted and start to appreciate them more.   I will start with grape jam, and will make some extra to give to friends and family as a gift, too!    Just the ideas of making grape jam as a gift is instantly making me happy already! ^_____^

In no time, I found myself cutting grape for my jam project.   A few minutes later the hubby was yelling at me that the grapes were not ready yet and that I have to wait for a few days when the grapes’ skins get darker and ripen a little bit more.   

Oh well, I have already cut some 3 1/2 lbs. of grapes enough for making jam at the moment for the sample, because, you know, it’s my first time making grape jam!    So, excited!!!

I’ve received the grape jam recipe from Paul, my Uncle-in-law who lives in Belgium, which kindly translated the original recipe from French to English for me.   Thank you Paul!   However, the grape jam recipe Paul sent to me was using seedless grapes that don’t need to separate the grape pulp and skin.    But I have Concord grape with lots of seeds!    So, I used Paul's recipe for the guideline and searching for the grape jam recipe some more on the internet and youtube, and have found several of them with the same basic ingredients, with and without using pectin.   But there was one recipe that I found it interesting by using butter in the jam.    What butter would do to the jam? I wondered.   The only given explanation about using butter was to deter the foamy while cooking the grape.    Hmm…interesting!    The only idea came to me was that butter makes everything taste good!   Haaaaaa!
Though I did not follow the rest of the recipe, but I decided to add butter into my grape jam just wanted to satisfy my curiosity dying to know if the butter would work as claimed.   And yes, it worked!    It had prevented the foamy while the grape was boiling and simmering away.
Huh! Learn something new every day!

My grape jam came out so pretty and sweet with a little hint of lemon. Not bad, not bad as I am telling myself while spreading the freshly made jam on my toasted bread and licking my finger at the same time!   

What you need:   makes approx. 4 1/2 cups

 3 1/2 lbs. Concord grapes
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 medium lemon juice + zest
1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter

 How to:

- Pick grapes from the vine and wash away thoroughly any substances

 - Squeeze the grapes with your fingers to separate its skin from pulp and put them in separate bowl 

 - Bring the grape pulp to a boil in the medium sauce pan over medium heat and cook until the pulps are soften, about 5-7 minutes. Press the pulp through strainer and try to get as much pulp as possible, and discard the seeds

 - Meanwhile, in another medium pot, bring the grape skins into the medium pot with 1 cup of sugar, lemon juice and zest over medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes
- Add the grape pulp to the gape skin pot, add another 2 1/2 cups of sugar and butter, and gently stir to combine

- Turn the heat to low and let it to simmer for another 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally with wooden spoon. The jam will look glossy and thicken when it’s ready. Or you can check if it’s done by running your finger through the back of wooden spoon and the line stay there
- Carefully pour the hot jam into the prepared sterilized jars and let the jam sit at least 6 hours or overnight to develop more flavor before used



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