Grape jam is one of those lost recipes that no one seems to make any more. Every grade school kid knows about grape jelly, but grape jam has long since gone by the wayside. Grape jam is darn delicious, and it’s time it made a comeback!
In truth, there’s a good reason why grape jam fell out of favor. Traditionally it required a lot of work, namely to remove large grape seeds in heirloom grape varieties. The first seedless grapes weren’t developed until the 1980s, and by that point, grape jelly was long since entrenched in our national cuisine.
To make a really fine grape jam, you need to remove the seeds from grapes. They much larger than raspberry or blackberry seeds, and once you’ve cooked a batch down, if you haven’t removed the seeds, there are a lot of grape seeds in the finished jam.
Seedless grapes mostly solve this problem, but not completely, because even “seedless” grapes still have tiny seeds. If you’re using “seedless” grapes, removing the seeds is optional, but I’ll take you through the process either way.
Removing Seeds from Grapes
To make grape jam, the essential part is keeping the grape peels. The idea is to filter out the seeds from the pulp, but leave the peels still in the jam. How on earth does that work?
The Ball Book of Canning and Preserving suggests starting with uncooked grapes and separating the peels from the pulp. Start by peeling back a bit of the grape skin from one end of the grape and then squeeze out the inside. The grape pulp goes into one bowl, and the peels go into another.
I know, peeling grapes sounds tedious. So is shelling peas and all manner of tasks grandma filled her days with staying useful. For me, making jam is something I love to do with my toddlers. They love jam, and they love everything about helping make it. The cooking and canning parts are a little to hazardous for them, but since they’re at the end, once their attention is waning, it works out wonderfully.
Before the cooking process, the more steps the better. Idle baby hands take to coloring the walls, but babies happily put to work peeling grapes take an active part in preparing the food they’ll be eating later. If you don’t have easily entertained toddlers, keep in mind the seeding part is completely optional if you’re working with seedless grapes. Really it’s optional with seeded grapes, if you don’t mind the occasional crunchy grape seed.
Leaving the bowl of grape skins set to one side, the next step is to cook down the grape pulp. Allow the pulp to simmer on the stove until it has pretty well dissolved. Give it a few mashes with the back of a spoon to help it along, but it won’t take long. Pass the pulp through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Even with “seedless” grapes, there are still quite a few tiny seeds.
How to Make Grape Jam
At this point, combine the grape skins and the filtered grape pulp and add the sugar. If you’d like to make a low-sugar grape jam, you can reduce the sugar by half without a problem. Remember that a reduced sugar jam will yield considerably less because you’ll have to cook down the mixture further to reach gel stage. Either way, it’s darn delicious.
Add the pulp/skin mixture and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until much of the juice is evaporated, and the bubbles in the jam begin to change consistency. This jam comes together really fast, quicker than any other no pectin added jam I’ve ever made.
If you’ve made jam before, you’ll recognize this change as the jam approaches gel stage. Place a plate in the freezer and use it to test the jam’s consistency by putting small amounts on the cold plate. Alternately, generally gel stage is around 220 degrees F, and you can test the jam with a candy thermometer.
Once the jam reaches gel stage or consistency that you like, pour it into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process the grape jam in a water bath canner for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat. Allow the jam jars to sit for an additional 5 minutes before removing them to a towel on the counter to cool.
At this point, it can take a while for the jam to fully gel. Give the jam about 48 hours to rest before you open and test one. If you find it’s too thin, you can pour them back out, recook for a while and re-can the grape jam without issue. If it’s too thick, similarly, you can pour them back into the jam pot and add a bit of water to re-cook. If you tested the jam ahead of time with a plate or thermometer, it should be just fine with no need to retry, but it’s nice to know that options there if you need them.
Choosing Grapes for Grape Jam
Most recipes these days are for “concord grape jam” perhaps because that’s the most popular type of grape for grape jelly. It’s a flavor we’re used to for jelly, thus it’s what they suggest for grape jam. The thing is, it can be hard to find concord grapes for sale in the store. Most of them go directly into jelly or juice, and the few I have seen on supermarket shelves didn’t look too appetizing. I assume they must not keep well, thus the reason they’re always preserved rather than sold as table grapes.
There is no reason you can’t make grape jam with just about any variety of grape. Dark purple or blue grapes make a particularly dramatic presentation, but a bright green Thompson seedless grape jam would have its own beautiful green appeal.
The Ball Book of Home Canning suggests using Concord, Muscadine or Scuppernong grapes. None of those varieties grow up in cold climates. Here in vermont we’re limited to cold hardy grapes for zone 4, which are mostly wine grapes. Most places, you’ll only find generic green or red grapes in the store.
Don’t worry, just get creative with what you can get (or grow) where you live. Trust me, it’s all good.
Old Fashioned Grape Jam (No Pectin Added)
Old fashioned grape jam is packed with flavor. The grape skins add lovely color and give the finished jam a fabulous texture.
- 8 cups grapes, stemmed
- 6 cups sugar
- Seed grapes as discussed above by squeezing the grape flesh out of the skin and then cooking the pulp down. Put the pulp through a fine mesh strainer and then re-combine the filtered pulp with the grape skins.
- Add the skins and pulp into a saucepan along with the sugar and cook the mixture until it reaches gel stage, about 10-15 minutes. Experienced jam makers can watch for when the type of bubbles change and take on a glossy look. To be sure, test the consistency on a plate that's kept in the freezer or with a candy thermometer.
- Pour the jam into prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Store in the refrigerator for immediate use, or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit in the canner for an additional 5 minutes before removing them to cool on a towel on the counter.
- Allow the jars to rest for 24 to 48 hours to completely gel.
Recipe yields about six 8-ounce jars of grape jam.
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Looking for more ways to preserve grapes?
Excellent easy to understand instructions. Used half the sugar and it was divine!
Used blueberry grapes. Tiny seeds so left most in. Delicious and wonderful jam! Used a little less sugar and cooked for longer. Perfect!
I have been making grape jam for over 40 years. I never peeled a grape. Instead I placed my washed grapes in a big pot. Smashed them down to get the juice flowing. Heated it through. Then used my food foley (old fashioned hand crank type) to seperate the seeds and peel out. The meat or pulp of the grape went into the juice. Then i reheated the juice pulp mixture, added sugar, and grape jam was born. Your way is very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it. No matter which way you make your jam….it will.never disappoint!
I have occasionally had problems with tartrTe crystals?
Hey Lorel, i read your comment about your food foley, thanks for the suggestion, i really didnt want to peel every piece of grape. God, how long would that take?!
Ha. About 2-1/2 hours for 13 cups of peeled grapes.
How much sugar do you use and do you remove the seeds?
How much sugar do you use
The recipe calls for 8 cups of grapes and 6 cups of sugar.
Hi I’m new to this so you don’t use the peel or seeds!
You want to keep the peels but not the seeds.
Delicious! I wish it weren’t so time consuming. But many hands make fast work. I like your recommendation to get the children involved. Thanks!
My friend gave me fresh Concord grapes so of course I had to try your recipe! I took your suggestion and put my 3 year old to work peeling grapes – she was surprisingly good at it!
I don’t have a canner so I just poured the prepared jam into hot jars. I don’t think it will last very long around here anyways.
Made a very yummy jam!! We had it on ice cream tonight!! Thank you for the recipe 😊
I’m sure if you had a round cake rack and put it in a pot it would work just like a water bath canner, some people use a dish cloth in the bottom of the pot. You will need a lid for the pot .
I’ve been canning for some years and I don’t have a canner either. I put a round cooling rack in the bottom of a very large, heavy bottom stock pot and it works perfectly.
Jar bands work just as good.
I love this recipe! Thank you for sharing it 😊. I do think that blanching the grapes in boiling is a more efficient manner in to which remove the skins. Roughly 1 minute in rolling water and the skins are both clean and literally pop off from the pulp. Viola
I’m in Wakefield, Quebec,. I believe it is zone 5. Cultivated concords grow.here, as do “wild” grapes that I believe are a highly flavoured wild variety of concord.
Thanks for the recipe!
I am also in zone 5, in Northern Michigan, I have a Concord vine that gave us LOTS of grapes this year. Can’t wait to try this!
Awesome! I hope it turns out great!
Thank You for the “no pectin” recipe! Separating skins is time consuming but doing it while watching a fav movie made it less so. I’m enjoying my jam on buttered toast with my morning cappuccino as I write this. I’ll be sharing the recipe to my followers on FBook.
Made this recipe this afternoon. We only had 4 cups of grapes, so cutit in half. Turned out delicious! Had to cook it.lpnger, but still easy. Fun to make it the old-fashioned way! Thank you
I have used this recipe before and its wonderful. When we bought our home 16 years ago there was a grape vine in the back yard. Concord grapes! I easily get enough grapes to make jelly each year.
Wonderful recipe. Made a much larger batch for giving but jam is very tasty and set up without a problem.
Do you measure grapes before, or after, peeling?
Hi Ashley! I’ve already cooked my grapes down. Any idea how many cups you use after it’s turned into pulp??
I’m not sure. Most recipes only have a measurement for the grapes prior to being cooked down.
Fantastic, it took me 2 1/2 hours from start to getting my precious jars out the canner.
I have a question. I’m not a big fan of having to do the water bath/canning method. Is there any reason this same recipe couldn’t be put into containers and frozen like strawberry and raspberry jam? I have searched the internet for Concord Grape FREEZER Jam and all the recipes and blogs can the grape version and freeze the other kinds. Just wondering if you have a recommendation on that, Thanks!
Yes, you can totally make this as a freezer jam! Just use the same freezing instructions from any other jam, same thing.
Debra L Buckingham
Thanks Ashley! I have a bushel of concords. I got about half done tonight. I appreciate your quick response! I’ll be putting all of it into the freezer!!
Kelli Jo Christiansen
First time I made my own jam with my own grapes.
can your recipe be doubled
Yes, this recipe should double just fine. I wouldn’t increase it much beyond that though, or it may cook unevenly and not gel properly.
I have a question. Do you have a problem of tartrate crystals in jam when you used it after few months?
I haven’t had a problem, but different varieties have different amounts. Wild grapes are supposed to be much higher, and probably wouldn’t be a good candidate for this recipe.
If you’re having that problem with your grapes, start out the same and peel the grapes, then cook the pulp and strain it to remove the seeds. Place the strained pulp in a jar (keep skins separate) and allow the crystals to settle out overnight in the fridge. Then carefully pour off the clean juice, leaving the crystals behind in the jar. Recombine the juice with the skins to make the jam (or leave the skins out for jelly).
I’ve made two batches out of my wild grapes: one having in fridge overnight and then strain, second one without cooling down. After two months I opened both batches and found crystals in both jars. The average diameter of crystals is till 10 mm ( 0.4 inch). Then I strained it, warmed it and close in jars again. Now it’s without crystals.
If you’re using wild grapes they contain tartaric acid, which is an irritant that can cause some pretty intense throat discomfort. For wild grapes, I’d suggest making grape jelly instead. Make the juice, allow the tartaric acid crystals to settle out and then carefully decant, leaving those irritants behind. Wild grapes make a fine jelly, you just have to get the acid crystals out first.
For jam, it’s trickier, and I imagine you could do it, taking the skins off, then juicing the insides, allowing it to settle before decanting and putting the skins back in…but tricky since they’re so small.
How did you strsin it ? I have 12 jars of grape jam with tartrate crystals in it. I didnt think a jelly bag would work for jam. Jam.
I only used a fine mesh strainer to remove the grape seeds. Carefully pour off the clean juice, leaving the crystals behind in the jars. Recombine the juice with the skins to make the jam (or leave the skins out for jelly).
I have And can’t find any info out there on how to resolve problem. All info is on jelly and wine.
Hi, I have both purple and green seedless grapes, not sure what kind, and was wondering if you’ve ever combined the two colors? Wondering if there would be a big difference in flavor. I made a strawberry jam this morning, my 1st time canning, and throughly enjoyed the process and outcome.
Thanks for this recipe!
They do have different flavors, and combining them will likely be delicious. Different probably than two separate batches though. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Do you measure grapes before or after removing skins?
I measured them at the start, before doing anything to them.
I have home grown grapes and have no idea what type they are. The skins are pretty tough even after cooking them. The second batch I made I processed the skins in a small food processor. The texture is a lot better and there is more flavor to the jam. Thanks for this great recipe!
P T Thomas
I have searched for Grape Preserves with the skins FOREVER. This has to be the one like my Grandma made. If you haven’t had Grape Preserves with the skins, you are in for a real treat. Put that spoon of grape preserves with some of those delicious skins on a hot buttered biscuit and you’ll almost swear you are in heaven. I remember this from my childhood and helping my Mom and my Grandma make these delicious wonders. My Grandma had a huge concord grape vine and OMG… I would help squeeze those lovelies and get all their goodness into the bowls. THANK YOU. Now if only I could purchase this and not have to dig out my canner and find some grapes. LOL.
Really love this recipe!!! Easy to make!! My cooking time was a bit longer as the jam took a while longer to set (reach curl point) but happy days never thought I would cook my own jam. Thank you!
It was not as hard as it sounds,though it really would be worth the effort!
Thanks for your recipe! I have made 2 jars of jam by modifying it and it is delicious!
This is fantastic! I only had 3 lbs of grapes. So I cut the sugar to 3 cups but kept all the lemon juice. I added a little sage too. Thanks for the tip whoever suggested that one.
Thank you for this recipe, the flavor is fabulous and just what I was looking for. Something I did however made the final product very thick and gummy and hard to spread. What did I do wrong? Boil too long? Appreciate your insight, so I can make it with a better outcome this year!
It sounds like it’s overcooked. If it goes too far past gel stage the sugar starts to candy a bit, so it’ll get gummy (more like a strange-looking caramel). Stop the cooking a bit earlier next time. Good luck!
Wondering why you leave the skins in?
Can they be left out for a smoother consistency?
Yup, you could leave the skins out, and that process is a lot easier. Just look up recipes for grape jelly instead of grape jam. Grape jam with the skins is a labor of love, but the skins have a distinctive flavor that makes for a unique jam. They have a bit of tannin in them, which plays well against the sugar in the jam. Think of it like a red wine, where the tannin gives the wine body and character. That’s why they’re in there. But yes, if you want a smooth version, you can just leave them out.
Would it work to skip peeling the grapes and just put the cooked mixture through a food mill?
I haven’t tried it, but I would think so.
Yes that is what I do. You still have the pulp so it is really good.
I do that too. But have had problems with tartrate crystals?
Made this for the first time as hubs overbought red grapes. I didn’t want them to go to waste but I didn’t want to go to the store to look for pectin. How fun was this! And so delicious. Yes, it was tedious peeling the grapes but I kept telling myself that of a mom could do this with toddlers, this retired Nana should be able to do it as well. After a while it was very relaxing. Maybe getting my aggression out on the grapes? 7 cups of grapes yielded almost 3 cups of jam. We were eating the hot jam on crackers to see how it was, and then more because it was delicious. Thanks for all the great info along the way! I learned a lot about jam, which I never thought I’d be making.
Wonderful! I’m so glad you tried it =)
Do you still have to peel the grapes if you aren’t removing seeds?
If you aren’t removing the seeds I don’t think there would be any need to remove the skins.
I never remove the skins.I use seedless grapes and after cooking them down I use my immersion blender.Works really well.Is very smooth.Thanks for the recipe!
You’re so welcome.
Can I use frozen grapes?
Yes, you can, Lila!
After simmering pulp, I only got 2 1/2 cups of juice after straining. Is this enough? I like the comment about running the skins through a blender as my muscadine skins are tough.
You actually want the pulp and the juice together, not just the juice. You want to push the pulp through the strainer to just to get the seeds out.
Made this with tame muscadines. Texture was great but the skins are tough even though I put them through a blender. Recommend using a thin skinned variety. The taste is amazing, tho.
Thanks for the tip Kathy. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Grape jam is darn delicious
It sure is. I don’t think I have met a jam that I don’t love.
How long do the unopened jars stay good? Do you store them in the fridge or in the cabinet?
Without canning, they should be stored refrigerated for a week or so. If you’re canning them, 18 months in a cabinet.
I have 10 lbs of Concord grapes and want to can them for making grape pies. I bought a food mill for taking out the seeds. Should I cook the grapes first or run through the mill first to get rid of the seeds and then cook pulp and skins and then put in jar. Water bath or pressure can? Mom used to do this when I was a kid, but she is no longer here for me to ask. Hope my questions make sense. Thanks for any help you can offer.
I did a quick Google search and found several recipes. Just search for “canning grape pie filling” You can make the pie filling according to the recipe and then process it in a water bath canner and your pie filling will be ready to go. Just be sure that the site you are looking at follows safe canning guidelines.
Thank you! Thank you! This jam recipe is wonderful. We were told that the former owners had a grapevine near the wood line of our house. For years we couldn’t find a trace of it. Then years later, there it was. Vines hanging from the tree limbs. What a beautiful site! We picked them and made a wonderful jelly. Now we have to find a way to move it to a trellis again. Lol This year I wanted something more, and I put in a search and I’m so grateful for your recipe. I’m so surprised that pectin wasn’t needed. I did put the skins in a food processor. I wasn’t sure about huge pieces of the skins in the jam. My skins were very sour and had a bitter after taste. If I would have left them whole do you think that bitter after taste would have been noticeable? I’m going to try to make another batch soon. Thanks again.
I would be interested to know if leaving them whole makes a difference. Did you taste them before you made the jelly?
Wonderful directions! It was all going well until I got distracted while letting the mix cook. After it cooled, I found I had a nice jar of Grape Taffy! It was so good, however, that I actually considered eating it that way. Reason prevailed and I mixed the jar of taffy with the next batch of jam, and all came out well. I gave it a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and about a teaspoon of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon goes with almost everything, including chunky peanut butter sandwiches with fresh jam.
Grape taffy sounds wonderful to me. Great job on fixing the batch though.
Could you use a food processor or juicer instead of peeling the grapes?
I’ve heard some people have decent luck using a food processor. I haven’t tried it myself though.
When I opened my jar of jam, there was a thin layer of grey liquid at the top, and jam under it. What should I do?
I am not sure what that would be Anne. I have never experienced that and I can’t seem to find any articles about it anywhere when I search.
Thanks for the reply. It was in a jar where the lid had not ‘popped’. I opened this jar first because of this. I drained the water off, and have since eaten the jam. It was delicious! lol.
I am wondering if water from the ‘water bath’ had got in the jar.
Thanks for looking into this.
Well I am glad it was good. I think that is definitely a possibility.
Hi! Thanks for the recipes and tips!
I am a wine grape grower and amateur winemaker: Sangiovese, and Petite Sirah.
We get tons of grapes at harvest; literally. I paid to have some from last year’s harvest made into jams. They were so delicious! My family and friends would like more of it, lol!
I wanted to try to make it myself this year. Have any of you done so with wine grape must (the jam maker last year used the must – which is grapes that have gone through the crusher/destemmer)? It has a lot of pips (seeds). I am not sure how to remove them. Any suggestions?
And, can I make jam without sugar and/or pectin?? I am somewhat new to canning, and am not quite certain.
Thank you for any pointers!
You can run the grape pulp through a fine mesh strainer or a food mill to remove the seeds. You can definitely make jam without pectin. This particular recipe does not use pectin. You can easily reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe by half. I personally have never made jam without sugar but I have heard of others doing it or even substituting honey or maple syrup.
diana l jewer
I used my own grapes and when I put them through the strainer, it was really just liquid left. I boiled the mixture with the skins for an hour. It never jelled or even reduced. It burnt though. It looks like chicken gravy and not grapes at all. It was so much work and I’m so sad that ruined it. Do you know what I did wrong?
That is a really good question. The skins have a lot of pectin, and it really should have gelled without issue. Did you add sugar?
Thank you so much for this recipe. We tried it today and boy oh boy it is worth it. We did 2 batches using the peeling the grapes. That was very time consuming and we had way too many grapes to do them all like that. We did the last 2 batches by heating up the grapes with skins and running them through the mill. Tastes every bit as good as the peeled version. And … I made all the batches with the 3 cups of sugar and it is absolutely delicious. All versions set perfectly and taste exactly the same.
You’re welcome! I’m glad both the peeled and unpeeled batched came out great!
Hi😃 You don’t need any lemon in this recipe?
The lemon is optional, but not required for safe canning (grapes are acidic enough on their own). It adds pectin and helps balance out the sweetness, so without it your yield may be lower or your jam a bit runnier, and it will taste a good bit sweeter without the acid to balance it. But yes, the jam should still work without it.
Ok thank you 😊
Also can I use less sugar?
To a point…you can reduce the sugar somewhat. I’d guess you could cut it in half and still get the jam to gel, but that’s a guess. The consistency will be different, and your yield will be a lot less. You’ll also need to cook it longer. That said, you should get something wicked tasty that’s more like a fruit butter with peels. I bet it’d be delicious =)
My first time making jam. I think it turned out great, at least what I sampled was yummy! I cut sugar to 4 cups and still seems plenty sweet enough. Also, after cooking skins I used my immersion blender on them to break them down. Thanks, your article was really good on making jam.
Awesome! I’m so glad it turned out wonderful!
Great Recipe!!! I made jam from our homegrown grapes and by the time it had the right consistency it had cooked down quite a bit. I do not want to add pectin in my next batch can I use cornstarch to thicken or will that ruin the jam? THANK YOU !!!
Hi Mary. You could definitely add corn starch when making your jam. If you do that I would recommend keeping it in the fridge or the freezer though since it is not recommended as safe canning procedures to add thickeners like that to a recipe.
That’s PERFECT !!! I didn’t plan on canning so I’m anxious to try using the cornstarch in my next batch 🙂 Thank You for your prompt response – Appreciate !!!
I am highly amused by the fact that the first recipe for grape jam I google search comes from someone who lives probably less than 2 hours away from me ( and is also in my ancient Ball Canning Book from like 1991).. However, I’ve been harvesting Concord (and other) grapes from several different places, all in Zone 4, and these are super old vines. Maybe you are in a frost pocket that gets to Zone 3 or just up past St. J where there is a zone 3b pocket? Either way, my jelly came out perfectly grape-y and now headed into the jam zone because I just picked about 5 lbs of perfectly ripe Concord grapes.
That’s very interesting. There are definitely lots of microclimates that can account for those differences. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
I am having problems with tartrate crystals. I cook down grapes a bit then put through strainer to removes seeds and skins but still get a nice thick grape pulp. Let sit overnight in fridge. Make jam. I’m guessing as long as I don’t disturb crystals that have settled to bottom I’m good. Made about 4 batches all were excellent except last batch when opened formed tartrate crystals. The grapes are not wild they are concord from a local supplier. I have heard where you can put grape juice through a jelly bag or cheese cloth but I’m wondering how that would work with this thicker pulp.?
You would definitely lose the thicker pulp if you put it through a jelly bag or cheese cloth. As long as the tartrate crystals stay in the bottom when you are pouring, then you should be fine.
Can I get some help from some experienced “jammers” :)? I made 3 batches. In my inexperience I did not test the first two and after a couple of weeks the still seem to be too runny in the jars. The third batch actually ended up setting too thick. I bought new lids so that I can recook the runny jam and process it again. However I read that if I try to thin the thick jam it most likely will not reset.
Would it work if I mixed the thin jam and thick jam together to reprocess or should I just chalk it up to “experience” and leave as is?
Hi! Thank you for your great recipe! How long does it preserve for?
For best quality, it is recommended that you use all home canned goods within a year. As long as the jar is still sealed and there are not visible signs of spoilage, then it should be safe to eat for longer.
I made this jam from your recipe last year wondering if I was a little crazy to remove the skins one by one, as I’ve done it with chickpeas – skinning them one by one — for hummus only to find I didn’t think it made a difference large enough to warrant the effort. This was well worth the effort. I think it’s the best jam I’ve ever had. THANK YOU!
It is a wonderful recipe I tried this recipe at home in the evening and it was very delicious!
I can say if you have wild grapes, this is an excellent recipe. However, separating the seeds is not small task. Why not use a food mill? I would likely still separate the peels by hand, but perhaps separate the seeds from the pulp before cooking down the pulp? Anyone do this?
This is an interesting thought. Let us know if you decide to give it a try.
I picked 3 ice cream pales of Concord grapes yesterday. My two toddlers and I washed and skinned them (great idea btw-thank you) and I now have 3 quarts of pulp. I am wondering what the ratio of cooked pulp with the seeds removed would be to sugar?
Good question…I didn’t measure it at that stage…If I had to guess, I’d say go with around 2:1. If you have 8 cups of cooked pulp/skins, add 4 cups sugar (as opposed to 8 cups whole grapes to 6 cups sugar in the original recipe). That might be a bit high, since when you cook everything it really shrinks from the original whole grapes, but it’s a good place to start and it should definitely have enough sugar to gel properly. If you find it too sweet, scale back a bit next time. Enjoy!
Ashley hello, question please.
Why in some recipes they tell you to put wax on top and some not?
Wax on top is an old-fashioned canning technique that some people learned from their grandparents. It’s also still done in Europe sometimes. It was done before people started water bath canning jams and jellies. With that method, you just pour the hot jelly into the jar, then pour wax on top (no canning, and no canning lids). In the US, it’s not really done anymore as water bath canning replaced that practice and is a bit more dependable. Generally, waxed jellies were kept in a root cellar, not a room temperature pantry.
P. Austin Heaton
Diabetic Sugarfree Option
I had 2 cups of grapes which I cooked with 2 teaspoons of Splenda for 20 minutes. Came out wonderfully. Love sugar-free Concord grape jelly, but I rarely find it on the shelves at the grocery. This was so simple because I didn’t peel the grapes. I just smashed them with a spoon and put them in the pot to cook.
Wonderful, that’s good to know!
Do I need to add lemon juice to make them shelf stable? I have a Concord grape vine and want to make this jam and give some as gifts. Love the recipe, it sounds delicious
Nope, the lemon juice is not required for canning safety. Grapes are acidic enough on their own and their pH is safe for canning without adding lemon juice. The lemon juice in this recipe is to add a bit more tartness to balance all the sugar, since you need quite a bit of sugar to get the recipe to gel without pectin. Lemon juice also has a lot of pectin, so it helps the jam gel too. It’s in there for flavor and texture, but the recipe is totally fine to can without it.
I was thinking I was crazy when I started to skin grapes. It was so worth it!! Turned out amazing and set up nicely. I will definitely make again.
So glad you enjoyed it.
Hi Ashley! It’s been a while since you posted this recipe, but just seeing it today. We have a HUGE amount of wild seeded grapes growing in our back yard, so am giving it a first shot at making jam. One question, I see lemon juice mentioned in the comments, but don’t see it in the recipe. Do you have a recommended amount?
Thank you! Kim
It looks like the lemon juice may have been removed. You could start with about a Tablespoon and just add it to taste. It is not necessary for gel or safety.
Got it. Will give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thought I would add my experience- I love how we get to share other cooks’ ideas in the comment section! I had about 7 cups pulp/skins of a delicious mystery grape my friend grows and a few Concords of mine. 3 cups sugar. I used the immersion blender when it became obvious the skins weren’t going to break down at all. It held at 215-217 for so long – close to an hour- I got worried about the gel. I had a quarter lemon I threw in for the pectin and also some tiny ornamental quince that I halved and seeded. I had always thought about using the quince for their pectin in a recipe like this but never had. In the 15 minutes or so it took the quince to soften, I had obvious jelly. Don’t know if that was it, or if it was just time. Then I tried it warm on a piece of toast (half with peanut butter, half with cream cheese!) and my dreams all came true. Delightful, and much more flavorful than the grape jelly I made a few weeks ago. I didn’t want to drag my canning stuff back out, so3 half pints for the freezer, and one more will probably be gone by tomorrow! Next year, I won’t bother with the jelly at grape time. Thanks!
I have a good harvest of pears along with the grapes. Not being a very experienced jam maker, was wondering if I could add pears to the grapes for a combined jam?
You sure can.
Is it ok ifsome of the pulp continues to reside with the peel once peeled?
I peeled about twenty grapes very well and then decided there must be a faster way. I read in the comments here that if you blanched the graoes it would be easier. Nope. The only change is now instead of deep purple skins, i have mauve-colored skins. Oh and now theyre hot.
It depends on how much is left behind. If you have a significantly less amount of pulp then it could affect the outcome of the recipe. Typically when you blanch something, you cook it for a short amount of time and then put it directly into an ice bath. This should help the skins remove more easily and also make it cooler to handle.
Made jam for the first time ever and our now 3 yr old vine produced an abundance of grapes. I was able to make 7- 8oz jars of jam and I was worried at first but when it came time for the gel test on the frozen plate I was very happy with the taste. Definitely will try more, Maybe with strawberries. And maybe I’ll look into making Concord grape wine with the rest of the grapes.
Sounds great! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
When you say to rest the grape jam for 48 hours do you mean on the kitchen bench or in the refrigerator?
On the counter is fine but if you’re finding it’s having trouble setting it sometimes helps to move it to the fridge.
This is my second year with this recipe. I’m a 60+ grandfather and have concord grapes that were planted by my great grandparents many years ago. My 3 yr old granddaughter, Riley helped ” pop ” the grapes last year and the conversation we had was priceless. I picked the grapes last night and we’re making jam today. Thank you so much for this recipe. She will be using it long after I’m gone and it will be part of she and I that will carry on.
You’re very welcome. I am so glad that you shared this wonderful experience with your granddaughter. What a beautiful gift.
When my mother made concord grape jam she ALWAYS waited till the vines had been been hit with the first frost. She never explained why but the old apple growers used to say that delicious apples weren’t REALLY as sweet as they could be till they’d been hit with a frost.
My mother (died in 2010 died at the age of 92) used to pinch the grapes to extract the innards and then strain the separated grapes through a thin tea towel, squeezing it really hard and then even letting it drain out even more juice by hanging it on a handle on the cupboard door for a while to remove the seeds..
If anyone is wondering – I made concord grape JAM in 2001 by adding chopped skins back into the strained pulp with the water bath method and I’m still eating it now in 2022 – it’s still wonderfully perfect.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I am wondering, if I simmer the pulp, remove the seeds, but do not have time in the moment to continue making the jam, can I pick up with the process the next day? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I can’t think of any reason why that wouldn’t work. Please check back in with us and let us know how it works.
Phyllis T Lee
I do not peel my grapes. I just squeeze the grape and the pulp just comes right out. It only take a short while to pulp all your grapes. Just thought I would let you know how I do it. Maybe it will help.
Thank you so much for that helpful tip.
Hi all, I got lucky and had a bountiful crop of grapes. I have no clue what kind they are but I followed your recipe. But oh my, I thought I took the pan off the heat and lay down for a few minutes. When I got up and discovered it still on simmer I was so upset. Well the jam was like taffy, so I am going to attempt to make another batch and add the taffy in hopes it blends. What do you think? Should I wait till the very end to add the taffy jam? I appreciate any suggestions.
I’m not sure that I would try to add the jam that turned to taffy. I think you would be better off to just make a fresh batch and find another use for the taffy jam.