This is kind of a cheater’s version, because it doesn’t involve squeezing the juice out of real grapes. While that sort of method might produce some very tasty jelly, it’s not at all cost-efficient unless you grow your own grapes or have access to free ones somehow.
How cheap your jelly is depends on the price you pay for your ingredients. If you buy grape juice and sugar on sale and you have a coupon for pectin, it will be really, really cheap. Plus, your homemade jelly will have no high fructose corn syrup in it(this is actually the reason I first looked into making my own).
I got this recipe from The Hillbilly Housewife(you can print it from the link there),(and it’s basically the same as the one on the insert from the pectin box) but I thought that some of you might be terrified of making your own jelly and would prefer a pictorial guide. It’s actually really, really easy. I promise.
Homemade Grape Jelly
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 cups grape juice (either in a bottle or prepared from concentrate)
- 1 package powdered pectin
- 4 cups sugar
- glass jars that will hold 1.5 quarts of jelly
(they don’t need to be canning jars…glass jars that used to hold fruit or applesauce, or jelly will work fine)
Combine grape juice and pectin in a saucepan(I stir it with a whisk to get rid of the lumps) and bring to a boil. As an aside, do NOT add the sugar before you bring the pectin to a boil. I’ve done this waaaay too many times, and it causes the jelly to not, well, gel.
After the pectin/juice mixture has come to a boil, stir in the sugar. Bring it back up to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, and boil for a full minute.
Remove from the heat. During cooking, some foam may have appeared on the top of your jelly. I like to spoon this off.
It’s harmless, but it’ll make the top of your jelly look cloudy if you leave it there.
Ladle the jelly into your clean jars, screw on the lids, and let the jelly cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.
If you want the jelly to be shelf-stable, you can process the jars in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. I don’t mess with that usually…I store mine in the fridge, and they keep just fine.
The color of your jelly could vary depending on the grape juice you use. In my experience, the bottled grape juice makes a more purple jelly than reconstituted grape juice does. The jars above are made from bottled juice, and the jars below are from a concentrate.
They’ll both taste good, though, so use whatever sort of grape juice you like.
Sometimes, my jelly gels right away, but sometimes it takes a while(like 6-8 hours). So, don’t become distressed if at first it seems that all you have produced is some very sweet grape juice. Be patient, and as long as you’ve followed the recipe properly, your grape juice will have turned into jelly.