Oh what a fruitful summer it has been this year. I was bless beyond measure with a garden that exceeded my wildest expectations. As the tomatoes and cucumbers flourished I caught a whim of anxiety anticipating the huge crop that I witnessed on the vines. But anxiety quickly turned into determination once the tomatoes started to come in and the cucumbers were bursting at the seams.
This year I have canned tomatoes, salsa, chow-chow, dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, pickled okra, peaches and cherry jelly. Most of which was grown in my garden. I bought the peaches at the farmers market and the cherries came from my best buddy’s cherry tree. She had a bumper crop this year.
But I’m not done yet. Recently I bought a half a bushel of muscadines and half a bushel of scuppernongs grapes. If you don’t know the difference, muscadines and scuppernong are naïve to the South. They are “our grapes” so to speak. Muscadines are red grapes and Scuppernong are white grapes.
I canned muscadine jelly last year and was down to my last jar. The grapes come in this time of year so your window of opportunity is limited if you want to make mucadine and scuppernong jelly or wine or what have you. For me I want jelly.
Through shade and shine
I wandered, as one wanders in a dream,
Till, near the borders of a beauteous stream
O’erhung by flower and vine,
I pushed the dense, perplexing boughs aside,
To mark the temperate tide
Purpled by shadows of the Muscadine.
Here is a short lesson on making muscadine or scuppernong jelly.
I don’t mix my grapes. I do a batch of muscadines and a separate batch of scuppernongs. Only if I have a cup or two of juice from each grape, then I’ll mix the juice.
I crushed each grape with a potato masher. As I was literally mashing each grape I couldn’t help but be reminded of the episode of Lucy and Ethel mashing grapes with their feet. I wondered if I should do that as my arms got tired.
After mashing all the grapes, then I put them in my food processor. I put it on pulse and chop a little not too much but enough. It something that you will have to eye ball. Your main objective is extract the juice from the grape. As you “chop” them in the food processor, dump them into a large pot, depending on how many grapes you have will determine the size of the pot to use.
Bring grapes to a boil and let simmer for about 30 minutes stirring frequently. Once grapes have boiled for 30 minutes, take off burner and allow to cool.
Once grapes have cooled, strain through cheese cloth.
You will need to strain several times to remove all pulp. All you want is juice.
Once you have your juice you will need to measure how much juice you have. When making jelly, it is recommended that you not make more than 8 cups of juice per batch. Anything more than 8 cups good luck getting it to set.
- Bring 8 cups of juice to a boil and add 2 boxes of Sure-Jel (yellow box). 1 box per 4 cups of juice is the rule of thumb. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.
- After 1 minute of boiling, add 10 cups of sugar, (2 cups more sugar than juice) and return to boil and boil for 1 minute (rolling boil) , but not too hard of a boil, it will foam up bad if the boil is too hard. Add a pat of butter to your juice to help cut back on foaming.
- Ladle into hot 1/2 pint jelly jars and process in water bath for 10 minutes.
8 cups of juice with provide 12 jars of jelly. I put up 24 jars of muscadine and scuppernong jelly. That’ll do me until next year. They make wonderful sercies or Christmas presents. Tired and true from me to you.