That old two-wheeler with the banana seat, Tinkertoys, Saturday matinées, grape jelly – those were the best simple pleasures of childhood. The jelly, at least, is still around and as good as ever. On a leisurely afternoon get the kids you know to help prepare the grapes for a few jarfuls. Then indulge all year by the glistening purple spoonful. Sweet memories, these.
•3-3/4 lb Concord or Coronation grapes 1.875 kg
•1 Pkg (57 g) fruit pectin crystals 1
•5 cups Granulated sugar 1.25 L
1. Rinse grapes thoroughly; drain well. Remove enough from stems to yield 10 cups (2.5 L), discarding any wrinkled or bruised grapes.
2. In large 26-cup (6.5 L) pot, crush grapes with potato masher. Add 1 cup (250 mL) water, bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. With measuring cup, scoop cooked grapes into jelly bag suspended over large measuring cup or bowl. Let drip, without squeezing bag, for about 2 hours or until juice measures 4 cups (1 L).
4. Or place cooked grapes in colander-lined with triple thickness of damp cheesecloth. Bring up sides; tie top with string to form bag.
5. Tie bag with string to cupboard handle or support bar over large measuring cup or bowl. Let drip, without squeezing bag, for about 2 hours or until juice measures 4 cups (1 L).
6. In large clean pot, bring juice and pectin to boil. Stir in sugar; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Boil vigorously, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Pour into seven 1-cup (250 mL) hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Let cool on rack.
Makes about 7 cups (1.75 L).
Per 1 tbsp (15 mL): about 42 cal, 0 g pro, 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 11 g carb, 0 g fibre, 0 mg chol, 0 mg sodium.
• Refrigerate any partially filled jars or ones with lids that do not curve down after processing (and therefore are not sealed properly).
• Blue labrusca grapes set the jelly standard because of their intense flavour and colour. Common varieties are Concord and Ferdonia. Seedless Coronations are a hybrid of labrusca and white seedless grapes.