Over the years at Star Hill we have added plants that produce fruit, nuts or berries. This year we have added thornless blackberries to our crops and we have muscadine grapes that produce tart grapes.  Three weeks ago we planted a peach tree which was another gift.  Baby boy gave me two grapevines about three years ago for my birthday. This year we got our first crop of grapes. 

We have had a ball watching them week to week turn from small green dots to green grapes to the ripe red ones that you see below.


All of my life my mom has canned vegetables, made pickles, hot pepper sauce, and produced tons of jelly.  I helped her last year, but I have never made jelly all on my own.  I decided that it was time for me to make my own jelly from this fruit. 

I searched the Internet for an easy grape jelly recipe.  Mom walked me through turning the grapes into juice.  Basically you boil the grapes in a little water for about 10 minutes then mash them with a potato masher then pour all the gunk into a colander that has cheesecloth lining it.  Let it cool then lift up the cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.  I froze my juice after it cooled until I could get up the courage to make the jelly.
Here is my juice right out of the freezer. 
I found this easy jelly recipe at http://allrecipes.com/ 
  • 3cups grape juice
  • 5 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
I organized everything that I thought I would need for the Jelly making.  I probably overdid it but I did not want to ruin it.

 

I bought a canning kit at Walmart that had a funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid picker upper, and a thing to get the foam off the top of the jelly and measure.  It came in the green box at the back of this picture.

Directions

  1. Sterilize and dry jars for jelly, and set side .Mom said to use my dishwasher. New lids are recommended for best results.

  1. Combine grape juice and pectin in a large pot over medium-high heat.  I box of Sure Jell powder.

  1. Bring to a boil, and stir one minute at a rolling boil. Stir in sugar for a few minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from heat.

  1. Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.

  1. Wipe rims of jars with a clean dry cloth. Cover with a lid and ring to seal. Let stand 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. Jelly may take up to a week to set. Once set, it is ready to serve.
The directions at this point included a hot water bath and some other instructions for long term storage.  My mom has made jelly for years without the hot bath and canning. I have included her instructions here. 

I boiled the lids while putting the hot jelly into the jars.


 She said to put the filled and sealed jars close together on a board and cover the whole thing loosely with towels. 

 My instructions were to leave the whole thing alone for 24 hours. She has never had a batch of jelly go bad, so I am listening to her.  I made two batches of jelly.  I made a mess the first time and only ended up with 5 1/2 jars.  The second batch got the full 6 jars.  Mom said to never try to double a batch of jelly.  Make it one batch at a time with clean up between.

 You know that the jars seal if you push the middle and they don’t “click.”  My jars definitely sealed.  Yeah!   We tasted the half jar and it was great. 

Our next jelly will be Muscadine.  This is a native grape like fruit that grows wild up around Star Hill. They are coming ripe now.  I have two vines planted on our fence but the ones below I took pictures of today out near our road growing wild.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscadine

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