Monday, September 29, 2008

Grape Jam

Well, it was a rainy, dreary weekend. So what, you ask, could be better than inviting two bored, squabbling boys into your kitchen?

Inviting them and their dog, of course.

Wait, you really didn't think I was going to peel grapes myself, did you?

Well, the boys had fun, the dog had grapes, and the whole project only took about 3 hours - 2 hours longer than probably necessary. Such is the price of helpers. It was very easy, though. We did get a break in the rain Friday afternoon, and they got enough grapes to make a small batch of jam on Saturday afternoon. If you should get your paws on some concord grapes, this is well worthwhile for the jelly lover in your house!


(Adapted from the red checkered cookbook, late 1980s vintage)

About 2 pounds grapes - 5 to 6 cups whole grapes
1 cup water
2-1/2 cups sugar

Remove the grapes from the stems. Some should be underripe. Put half in a large kettle, and peel the other half, reserving the skins, and put the peeled grapes in the kettle. Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, over medium heat, until the grapes boil and soften. Strain the grapes, pressing the mix through the strainer; discard the seeds and such.
Measure 1-1/2 cups of the remaining juices, and pour back into the kettle with the grape skins and water. Bring to a boil, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Cook about 15 minutes, uncovered, until the mixture thickens. Meanwhile, boil water in a canning bath or deep stockpot for processing the jam.

Handy information: if you have a candy thermometer, use it. Cook the jam until it's 8 degrees above the temperature of boiling water. You can check the temperature of the boiling water in your stockpot to make sure your candy thermometer is properly calibrated; mine said my water was boiling at 200F! I'd have been waiting a whole lot longer for the jam if I hadn't checked that temp against my boiling water. I digress.

After the jam is finished, ladle it into hot, sterilized half pint sized jars
(I poured boiling water into mine a few minutes before I used them, then poured it out when the jam was ready). Put the lids on the jars, and place them into the stockpot of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the lids of the jars by 1", and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs at the end of 5 minutes, and set on the stovetop or a cutting board to cool. The boys haven't tried this yet, because it's not yet lunchtime, but if the smell is any indication, this will be a surefire crowd pleaser!


Paula said...

Great job! You always so good about getting your kids involved in the kitchen. I need to do a better job of that. Hope you get at least a bite of that jam!

The Blonde Duck said...

Do you have all boys? Are those the two youngest or do you have more little ones?

Pam said...

Yum. I am so excited to try this - if I ever find fresh concord grapes. It's great that your boys are interested in cooking - my kids love it.

Pam said...

I used to make grape jam with my grandmother. It was always fun and tasted so good!

Peter M said...

If this is made with concord grapes..I'm all over this.

noble pig said...

I love that you got them to peel the grapes, that's awesome.

Prudy said...

I love seeing those boys in the kitchen. If I had some grapes, I know what science experiment we'd be eating today.:)

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your boys are going to make a couple of girls really happy that know their way around the kitchen. I would love to try and make this, grape jam is one of my favorites.

Grace said...

hooray for boys in the kitchen! way to get 'em started early, and way to make excellent use of those grapes. :)

Linda said...

Your "slaves" don't look to hard done by:) Thor looks somewhat bored that he didn't get to help.

Debra said...

It's great to see kids get involve!!
(That's a HUGE dog, but looks very sweet)