When you learn how to make jelly at home — this quick grape jelly recipe can be canned or used to make freezer jelly — you’ll save yourself some serious cash, not to mention eliminate some less than ideal ingredients.
Have you looked at the price of store bought jelly lately? It’s expensive! If you use a lot of jelly (hello, PB&J!), the high cost of jelly can add up.
Plus? You can use better ingredients when you make your own grape jelly. Almost every single brand of jelly that my grocery store carries is made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
I don’t like that. One local brand does use sugar instead of HFCS and there are organic options, but there again, it’s expensive! More than five bucks for slightly more than a cup of jam? This is why I’ve been making my own jam and jelly for years.
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Quick grape jelly recipe
This homemade grape jelly recipe works with freshly-juiced grapes or, for a midwinter jelly emergency, let me let you in on a little secret.
The freezer or juice aisle of your grocery store is your ticket to HFCS-free jelly no matter what’s in season. Look for ready-to-serve 100% juice in the drink aisle (you may have to seek out a natural food store) or a frozen concentrate (Welch’s is one brand that offers 100% juice).
It may not be quite as self-sufficient of you to use store-bought juice, but we’re all about small steps around here. Homemade jelly with store bought juice still eliminates icky ingredients and unnecessary shipping of disposable plastic containers.
What kind of grapes are best?
I have a particular fondness for Concord grape jelly, but this recipe works with whatever kind of grapes (or grape juice) you have available to you. You can use purple or white grape juice — it will all taste great!
How to make grape juice
If you’re starting with fresh grapes, start by cleaning them. Grapes fresh off the vine tend to be dusty. The easiest way to do this is to fill your sink with water and put the grapes in for a soak.
- Use your hands to carefully remove the grapes from the stems, swishing them around in water as you do.
- Discard any dried up grapes or those that are not yet ripe.
- Place washed grapes in a large stockpot.
- Use a potato masher to crush the grapes, then heat the grapes over medium heat until the juice begins to simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring and mashing the grapes every 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place a large, fine-mesh sieve so that it’s suspended over a large bowl or second stockpot. You could also line a regular colander with a couple layers of cheesecloth.
- Spoon the cooked grapes and their juice into the sieve. Cover loosely with a cloth and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. As the grapes sit, the juice will drain through the sieve into the bowl, leaving behind the grape pulp. If you’re using seedless grapes, that pulp can be added to smoothies! Otherwise, compost it.
How to make jelly with less sugar
I’ve been using Pomona brand pectin (available at health food stores) exclusively because it allows me to use less sugar. Learning how to make grape jelly (or other jams and jellies) with Pomona pectin means you can ditch the guilt about serving over-sweetened spreads to your family.
Using Pomona brand pectin requires mixing a batch of calcium water. There will be more than you need for this grape jelly recipe; just keep the excess in your refrigerator for the next time you make jelly. Because c’mon – now that you know how to make grape jelly, you’ll want to try your hand at making Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Jelly, right?
How to can jelly
Preserving grape jelly for a shelf-stable product requires a water bath canner. (More about canning equipment here.) Once you’ve cooked the juice and added sugar and pectin, transfer the mixture to canning jars, leaving a quarter-inch headspace. Top with a flat lid and canning ring, then process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Canning is an excellent way to preserve food for the pantry, but there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind.
- Know the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning. Low acid items must be pressure canned for safety.
- Altering ingredients may change the recipe’s pH, posing a safety issue.
- Use the proper jars and lids. Never reuse lids, with the exception of the Tattler lids that are intended for such a purpose.
- For more on canning equipment, please go here.
How to freeze grape jelly
Use straight-sided canning jars for freezer jelly and only fill the jars 3/4 full. This prevents breakage. For more information about freezing in canning jars, go here.
Homemade grape jelly is easy!
Making jam or jelly is so easy. It took me less than an hour to make three pints of jelly for around $10. If you’re new to this, it might take you an HOUR.
★ Did you make this quick grape jelly recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
Make the Jelly:
How to make grape jelly for a shelf stable product:
Nutrition Information: Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 17gSugar: 14g