Sunday, June 19, 2011

Canning 101: Simple Grape Jelly

Grape jelly is one of the simplest ways to get started with canning! It only requires 2-3 ingredients and because the jars are small, it is easy to do even in a tiny kitchen. Homemade jelly makes a great gift, especially with a loaf of fresh bread. 
Yummy Grape Jelly

To get started you need 100% grape juice(or any other 100% juice that you like), pectin and sugar.
There are several brands of pectin on the market.  Some of them are specifically designed for low or no sugar jams or jellies.  I prefer the low sugar variety, when I can find it, as I think it sets and tastes better--but it is a matter of personal preference.  Make sure that you follow the recommendations of the pectin that you purchase.  Do not try to use regular pectin to make low sugar jam or vice-versa, the jam will not set properly.

The first step is to prepare your jars.  Wash your jars thoroughly and then place them in a large pan of water and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and let set.  Or you can run your jars through your dishwasher and use the sanitize cycle, if you have one.  You also need to prepare your lids by placing in a pot of hot water.
Lids in pan

jar rings

Once your jars are ready, then carefully measure your ingredients.  Be sure to check the directions that come with your pectin for juice to sugar ratio.  Also, fill your canner half full of hot water and place on stove.  Be sure to place a canning rack or towel in the bottom of your canner.

Add your pre-measured juice to a large pot and place on the stove.  Stir in your pectin and heat over medium heat until pot comes to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop when stirred).
Juice in pot
When your juice is boiling add your sugar all at once and stir to dissolve.  To speed this process up, pre-heat your sugar in a warm (200 degree) oven or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Bring the sugar and juice mixture back to a full boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove jelly from heat (be careful the syrup is REALLY hot!), and begin ladling it into the prepared jars using a canning funnel.
Fill jars, leaving a 1/2 inch of space at the top.  Carefully wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel making sure there is no jelly or other debris on the lip,  Using a lid lifter, place warm lid on top of jar and use screw band to hold in place, tightening just until tight.
Wiping jar lip
Place jar in your prepared canner.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes and then turn off heat.  Let jars sit in water for about 15 minutes.  Then use tongs to carefully remove jars and place them on a towel in a draft free location.
canner ready for jars
You will hear a soft ping as the jars seal themselves.  After 24 hours check your jars to be sure they are all sealed.  The lid will be concave and not flex when you push it.  If your jar is not sealed, place in the refrigerator to be used first. 
After your jars are cool, you can remove the rings (if desired).  Be sure to label your jelly! 
Store your jelly in a cool, dark place (preferably), but at least out of direct sunlight.


Gerard Spinner said...

This is a great way to break into canning!  This was the first thing I made, using the directions found on the Website of "The Frugal Girl," Kristen.  It's easy and tasty... in fact, we picked up a bottle of grape juice just this evening to replenish our supply!

Green Acres in the City said...

What are the exact amounts used?

Lori said...

Why put a towel on the bottom of the pan?

Kathleen Whitmire said...

you put the towel to have a buffer between the jars and the pan. usually canners come with a rack. if you have a rack, no need for the towel.

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jenijen said...

What size canning jars?

donna said...

do you use the whole container of juice?