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How to make homemade grape jelly (from prepared juice)

(This recipe, which I published in 2008, is still making the rounds on Pinterest, but it didn’t have a printable recipe. Such things did not exist in 2008. So, here it is, updated with a printable.)

how to make easy grape jelly

This is kind of a cheater’s recipe for homemade grape jelly 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).

homemade grape jelly

I got this recipe from The Hillbilly Housewife, (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.

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.

homemade grape jelly

Homemade Grape Jelly

Yield: 3 pints
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This jelly is super easy because it's made from store-bought juice! And it doesn't even need to be canned. It makes a nice addition to a gift of homemade bread.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grape juice (either in a bottle or prepared from concentrate)
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 4 cups sugar
  • glass jars that will hold 3 pints of jelly

Instructions

    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.

    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 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. Spoon off any foam that has appeared.

    Ladle the jelly into your clean jars, screw on the lids, and let the jelly cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.

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Brenda

Monday 12th of June 2023

What kind of grape juice do you use? I can not find “unsweetened” grape juice anywhere. Since the recipe for making jelly calls for a lot of sugar, I figured it had to be unsweetened grape juice. For me this presents a problem because NO grocery stores, Walmart, or Costco within a 50 mile radius sells unsweetened. I am afraid to buy regular grape juice because it already has sugar in it. The recipe on the sure jell package for grape jelly is 1 package of sure jell 7 cups of sugar to 5 cups of juice for each batch. This yields 5 pints. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.

Kristen

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Oh, as long as it's labeled "100% grape juice" then it's not gonna be sweetened. :)

Carol

Sunday 5th of February 2023

This recipe sounds like what I am looking for, but I don't have the fridge space for refrigerator jams or jellies. Is it okay to water bath the jars so that I can store them in my pantry?

Kristen

Monday 6th of February 2023

Absolutely! That works just fine.

Angela

Sunday 4th of September 2022

Excellent tutorial. Will try this recipe soon.

Crystal

Friday 5th of August 2022

Hi, do I need to refrigerator them or is it possible to leave them on the shelf?

Kristen

Friday 5th of August 2022

If you wanted to make them shelf-stable, you'd have to can them in a hot water bath. But these will keep for a long time in the fridge; if you have extras, just shove them in the back somewhere. ;)

Kristen

Saturday 9th of July 2022

Yep, it's a sachet, and it's about 6 tablespoons.

I think that most juices would work for this, but I have never tried it with anything other than grape juice.

I'd go ahead and give it a try to see! The worst case scenario is that you will have sort of an apricot syrup, and you can just eat it on pancakes or waffles. :)

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