I will simply state that I will never be too old for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These are God’s gift to man. In my older years, I have expanded my horizons of jelly’s on my sandwiches. Apple, strawberry, blackberry, etc. but I keep coming back to grape. The guy who created this sandwich got it on the nose. The combo just… works. And those stores that have the free sampling of all the scrumptious jams and jelly’s? I mean, hello! You’ll find me in there pacing back and forth in front of them trying to make it look like I’m making up my mind of which one to buy. No. I’m just hungry and it’s free.
To continue, I have recently become obsessed with making me own jams and jelly’s. If I see fruit that I know we’re not going to eat right away I plop it in a pot and simmer away. It’s so much easier than I originally thought. And boy are they deeeelish!
This one time The Chef had a catering event with fruit trays and I saw how much left over grapes (they were green grapes) he had, I just knew that we wouldn’t be able to go through them all. I’m one of those people that if the grape is just a tad wrinkly, in even the slightest way, it gets discarded. It’s incredibly wasteful, I know, and this habit drives me up the wall. So before that happened, I wanted to get the most use out of them. I quickly looked up references to see if I was on the right track and away I went.
I had about 4 cups (or a little more) of grapes to start out with. I picked them off the stem and through them in a large pot. I added about a 1/4-1/2 water and 1 cup of organic cane sugar (reg granulated works fine too). I turned the heat onto medium high (more on the high) and let it come to a boil. I got out a masher and I started mashing the heck out of them. They have to cook a couple minutes before they really start to mash. I continued cooking and mashing for a good 10-15 minutes. I let the mixture cool a bit. Taking an old, clean, shirt that I had cut up to make a makeshift fine cheesecloth, I poured the cooked, mushed grapes into the shirt that was position over another mesh strainer and a medium size pot. I squeezed, and pushed, and wrung, and used every bit of elbow grease I had in me to get as much juice out of those grapes.
With the juice, now free of grape skins and pulp, I put the pot over high heat and attached my candy thermometer. I waited and waited until finally it reached 219˚. This is what they consider to be optimal jelly making temperature. I personally don’t know what would happen if you achieved a higher temp. Maybe even more coagulation? To me, 219˚ worked relatively well, but it was a tad runny. But the taste was amazing!! I poured it into 2 6-oz sealed containers, so it gave me about 12 -oz total, give or take a few. So at 4 cups of grapes (I’m going to guess that’s a good size bag from the store..) you get 12-oz of homemade vegan grape jelly. No gelatin= 100% vegan!
Note*- You can add as little or as much sugar as you’d like. I read a recipe that used 3 cups of sugar, and to me that seemed a little too sweet. That might also help with the thickness of the jelly as well. But for my first time making actual jelly, I can’t complain, and I will definitely be doing it again!
Sorry Smuckers. This girl is making her own jelly from now on.
Go try it out! Tell us what you think!