The wild grape season is here in New England, and every year I like to forage for wild concord grapes. These grapes grow all over North America and are great for making grape juice or jam. The grapes have a nice flavor to them. They are easy to identify, and many times you can smell them when approaching. In a previous post, I showed you how to pick wild grapes and make grape juice. In this post, I will show you how to make wild concord grape jam.
How to Make and Can Wild Concord Grape Jam
If you can not find wild grapes, the store-bought grape can work as well. It won’t be as flavorful or be as much fun as finding your own!
Here is what you will need:
- About 3 pounds of grapes (I half fill a plastic shopping bag with wild grapes)
- 4 cups sugar
Wash and Sterilize Jars
Your first step is to always wash and sterilize your jars and bands. Wash your jars and bands in hot soapy water. Then rinse and put them into your water bath canner to sterilize for about 15 minutes. The water should be almost to a boil to sterilize the jars and bands. Once the jars and bands are sterilized, set them aside on a kitchen towel. I like to place my lids covered with water into a small pan on the stove. Keep them warm until you are ready to use them.
Clean Your Grapes
Once you bring your grapes home, you should clean and de-stem them. Make sure to discard any broken or discolored grapes. Place them in a colander and give them a good wash under running water.
Separate The Skins from The Pulp
This step may take a while, but it is totally worth the effort. It will give your grape jam a great color and depth of flavor. Squeeze each grape to remove the skin and place the skin and pulp in separate bowls.
Chopping and Cooking Grapes
Now it is time to chop your grape skins. I used a food processor. I found that it chopped the skins finer and allowed them to cook better. Place your skins and pulp in separate pots and cook until soft for about 10 minutes.
Separating Your Grape Seeds
Your next step is to separate the seeds from the pulp. I like to use the Roma Food Strainer. It works great at separating the seeds from the puree. Add your hot pulp to the hopper and turn the handle. The puree will come out the front and the seeds out the side.
Where to Buy:
The Roma Food Strainer is available from this retailer:
Cook and Place in Jars
Once you have separated the puree, place the cooked grape skins and puree into a single pot and cook together. Add 4 cups of sugar and allow it to dissolve. Bring mixture to a rolling boil for about 1 minute. Make sure to stir to prevent sticking. This will allow the jam to gel and thicken. Remove from heat and ladle the contents into your sterilized jars. Leave about 1/4 inch of headspace for each jar. Place a lid and band on jars. Process or boil the jars for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.
Date and label your jars and keep them in a cool dark place for later consumption. Foraging for wild grapes and making jam what a great way to spend the day.
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