Last year at this time, I was drowning in peaches and nectarines, the tomatoes were just beginning to ripen, and the grapes weren’t going to be ready for nearly another month.
This year, we never got any nectarines (thanks a lot, funky spring), we finished up the peaches over a week ago, and I’m in the middle of tomatoes and grapes. It feels weird to be so far ahead of ourselves, seasonally, but it’s going to be nice to wrap up the garden a little early.
On Saturday I turned our first grapes into jelly. I think grape jelly might just be my all-time favorite jelly. It’s so rich and vibrant. And it’s so terribly easy to make. One juicer load yields enough grape juice for three batches of jelly … which equals exactly 12 pints and 3 half pints.
When making jams and jellies, I almost always refer to the handy-dandy guide that I’ve saved from a long-ago purchased box of Sure-Jell.
Instead of Sure-Jell, though, I use Natural Dutch Gel. I buy it in bulk, and come jelly-making season, we plow through the stuff. (I’ve already made six batches of peach jam, and I made three more batches of grape jelly yesterday.)
Adapted from the Sure-Jell pamphlet
5 cups unsweetened grape juice
7 cups sugar
½ cup natural Dutch gel
Wash the jars (four pints and one half-pint) and place in a 200 degree oven. Set the lids in a saucepan of hot water so the rubber can soften.
Pour the juice into a large soup pot. (The boiling jelly will rise up quite high, so make sure you have lots of space.) Add the Dutch gel and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Once the juice is boiling, stir in the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil again and boil hard for one minute.
Remove the kettle from the heat and ladle the jelly into the jars. Wipe the rims, lid, and screw on the rings. Set the jars on a towel and don’t touch them for at least 12 hours.
PS. This is my 1000th post! One thousandth. ONE THOUSANDTH!