Thursday, June 24, 2010

But Is She Really Thrifty: Homemade Grape Jelly from Juice

Firstly...do not be afraid. We're going to learn to can. I can do this. You can do this. Breathe, grasshopper.

A few weeks ago I heard about a deal going on at Family Dollar for free grape juice so I was able to get the grape juice for free.  If you were paying for the grape juice this may not be all that cost effective. However if you make your own jelly you know exactly what is going in to it..meaning no high fructose corn syrup.  I basically followed the directions in the Sure Jell pack.  I happened to have the lower-sugar ("no sugar") version of the pectin. Any brand will do.
**Disclaimer: There are about 101 ways to do jelly. You can not use canning jars. You don't HAVE to process it (in the hot water bath), you can keep it in the fridge instead. This is just how I've done it. Just be safe!
First gather your ingredients.
Homemade Grape Jelly from Juice
-1 large jug of grape juice. It should be 100% juice if you can.
-1 small box of pectin (Sure Jell is just one brand)
-Sugar. Plenty of it depending on your recipe.
-a wisk and something to pour your molten hot jelly into the jars.
-Canning jars and lids. This recipe makes 4 pint jars. These are an INVESTMENT. Just buy them.
(optional: a little vinegar for the canning water to make the jars nice and clean looking).

The recipe I used called for 5 1/2 cups of juice and 3 1/2 cups of sugar and made 4 pints of jelly.

You need 2 large pots. One pot for boiling the juice and one pot for boiling the water to actually can your jelly.
You'll notice a small pot back there too.  I boiled a little water in there and then cut off the heat. I then put my canning lids in there so they were ready to go when I needed them.

Start a lot of water boiling in the biggest pot you have. You want to have 1/2 to 1 inch of water over the top of your jars. Get that up to a fat boil.

In the smaller pot, add the juice and the pectin and get it up a fat boil (a boil that doesn't go down even when stirred.  You want to use a wisk to get rid of the lumps from the pectin. Get it up to a boil (or your jelly won't gel). 

This is the point you add your sugar. Add the sugar and keep stirring until it's dissolved. Then boil for one minute.  After that, cut the heat off and try to remove any foam that's on the jelly. It doesn't really matter, but it looks prettier without it.

This is the point of paths' divided.  Some people just pour the hot jelly into hot jars (NEVER EVER pour hot anything into something warm temperature!), put a canning lid on and the head from the jelly seals it. Some people process it in a hot water bath like I'm about to show you. Some people just pour it into old foodstuffs jars (applesauce or an old jelly jar--these must be hot), let it come to room temperature and then keep it in the fridge. 
That being said.. here we go with canning.

Pour the MOLTEN hot liquid jelly into hot jars (you can keep your jars in the dishwasher or in hot water in the sink, just dry them beforehand).  Make sure you wipe off the rims of the jars. Next, take your canning lids and put them on the jars. You're going to want to put the rings on as well, but don't tighten them too tightly.


I have a canning rack I got a few weeks ago at Walmart. I placed all of the jars in the green rack and then dropped them gently into the boiling water. Honestly, I'm not 100% convinced the rack is necessary for jelly...but maybe a voice of further experience can help.  Cover and let it boil for 10 minutes. NO less for jelly. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 1/2 inch of water.
If you plan on doing any measurably amount of canning, you'll also want to pick up a jar lifter. It kind of looks like giant tongs. At any rate, lift the jars out of the water and set them on a towel on the counter. You never want to put a hot jar on a counter or it will break--always use a towel. Leave the jars alone for about 24 hours. After a fairly short time you should here a *ping* sound from the lids. That's my favorite!
Before putting it on the pantry shelf, press down on the lid and make sure it doesn't bop up and down. It should feel tight. If it does go up and down, just keep it in the fridge and use it first.


1 comment:

  1. Great job on this blog. When you "can" things yourself, they always taste a little bit better.

    ReplyDelete