Canning grape jam is a fairly simple task because the recipe is straightforward and brief, grapes are not difficult to collect (no thorns like blackberries) and are sweet enough that they don’t require a lot of extra sugar. While we most often see the clear jelly in stores, grape jam is delicious and seems to be a bit more virtuous in my mind because more of the actual grape remains in the pot.
The recipe I use is from the wonderful compendium, Canning for a New Generation (I swear, I have never met the author nor is this a sponsored post; I just love this book!
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
The recipe from Canning for a New Generation is as follows:
4 lbs Concord grapes
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
I have made this jam with and without the spices and I can’t decide which I like better. If you haven’t tried it spiced, it is very good indeed. Imagine a dollop on hot oatmeal…
The recipe directs the preserver to bring the grapes to a boil and then press through a sieve as a means of skinning and seeding the grapes. I happen to have a food mill which I love, and I ran my grapes through it first with very good results. Here’s the one I have and love, gifted to me by a wonderful friend.
After you have either processed the grapes through a food mill or through a sieve, discard the skins and seeds.
Add the remaining ingredients to the grape pulp (about the consistency of a thin smoothie) and bring to a boil. It took my batch 30 minutes to thicken significantly.
Note: I have found that the time it takes for my jam to “set up” (thicken enough so that a dab of the jam dropped onto a cool plate and set in the freezer for 15 minutes is firm- basically when the jam is thick enough to be jam, not syrup) is significantly longer than many recipes indicate. I think that one possible culprit is the product I use is often homegrown or wild (my nose isn’t in the air here; it is the truth only as a matter of practicality) and thus the water content is inconsistent with the more standardized grocery store produce. That said, don’t be afraid to cook your jam a bit longer to achieve a thicker result. Thin jam that is a bit too thick for syrup is still tasty but tricky to pour/spoon and thus use up.
Tip: I have also used half a box of powdered pectin in this recipe, whisked in at the end, following the directions on the box, to good effect. If your jam is still fairly thin, you might try powdered pectin.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving half an inch headspace, and following safe canning practice outlined in this great resource from the USDA here or in the opening chapters of any good canning book.
Put the lids and rings on the jars and return to the water bath. Bring to a boil and process for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath onto a towel on a countertop and leave undisturbed for 12 hours. Label and store.
I love sharing canning recipes like these because many people are surprised to learn that canning is much more simple than they realize. I very rarely can anything that has a long ingredient list or a lengthy list of steps. Jams are a great beginner preserve because they are so high in acid, as described in my Acid & Canning Guidepost, a canner can feel totally confident that they will be successful and safe.
I did a couple Periscope broadcasts while I made my last batch and saved them to my YouTube Channel.
Here’s how the jam looks when it is ready for the hot jars.