Grape Jam

Grape jam is much easier to make than grape jelly. Old cookbooks will tell you to separate Concord or wild grape skins from their pulp, then to cook the pulp on its own and push it through a strainer to remove the seeds before mixing the skins and pulp back together. I find that process unnecessarily cumbersome, and instead cook the washed and stemmed grapes whole, whiz them in the food processor and then push them through a coarse sieve to remove the seeds before going on the with the jam recipe.

Grape Jam

  1. 4 quarts of grapes, washed with stems removed

  2. about 4 cups of sugar (more or less to taste)

  3. optional: add flavorings such as a teaspoon or two of cinnamon, the rind of an orange and a cup of chopped walnuts, if desired

Put the washed, wet grapes into a heavy, wide pot and mash them a little with a potato masher. Put the lid on the pot and bring the fruit to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or so. Pour a quart of the hot fruit into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to puree the skin and loosen the seeds from the pulp.

Pour the puree into a coarse sieve with small enough holes to catch the seeds. Press the grapes with a spoon until all the juice and pulp is extracted. Discard the seeds. Repeat until all the grapes have been pureed and strained.

Measure how many cups of puree you have and for each cup of puree add ½ - 1 cup of sugar, depending on how sour the grapes are and how sweet you like your jam. Cook the jam in a large, heavy, wide pot so that the moisture evaporates quickly from it, stirring often and adjusting the heat so it does not burn. If necessary, skim foam off the top of the jam as it cooks.

The jam is done when it reaches around 218 degrees on a candy thermometer, or a little of the hot liquid poured onto a cold plate sets up after a minute or so in the refrigerator. Pour into sterile jars and process in hot water if you like. Otherwise, pour into clean freezer jars and freeze.

Note:  Concord and wild grapes have a delicious, assertive flavor that marries beautifully with savory foods. Next time you need a quick appetizer, try sliced crusty bread spread with blue cheese and grape jam topped with a thin slice of red onion.