Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wild Grape Recipe - Grape Jam

After a bit of morning boxing, Karen (that's me) returned home to the smell of wild grapes. We had picked a bag full on Friday, and left the bag sitting on the floor in the kitchen. The bag sat for 2 days, and I think they were starting to ferment. The question was: jelly or wine? I thought they were a bit too buggy for wine, since the fruit is usually not washed before we make a peasant wine. We rely on the natural yeasts present in and on the fruit to sustain fermentation. We add some water and sugar, crush the fruit, and let it sit in the sun for 8 days. Then the fruit pulp is filtered out, and the bubbly juice sits another week or so with an airlock to ferment further. After the airlock stops bubbling, we chill the wine in the refrigerator. We don't cork or bottle it, we drink it up young. So there were lots of spider webs, wormy grapes, dried up grapes, and just plain not nice grapes in the bag. I decided to make jelly.

I used a recipe from Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Field Guide and Cookbook. I washed and stemmed the grapes, them smushed them up and added about a cup of water to the pot. Then I cooked them for 10 minutes, until they were nice and juicy. Then Robert came home from kayaking and helped me run the juicy pulp through our Roma sauce maker and food strainer contraption to get a dark purple, pulpy juice. Then it was jelly making time, and we got 8-1 cup jars. There was a bit of juicy pulp left over, so that is being dried into fruit leather. These wild grape jellies are incredible!


Wild Grape jelly/jam makes about 8-1c. jars

5 c. pulpy grape juice

1 box powdered pectin

6 1/2c. sugar

1. Place juice in a large pot, and whisk in pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring often.

2. Add all of the sugar at once, bring back to a rollong boil and cook 1 full minute, stirring constantly.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and skim off the foam.

4. Ladle into sterile jelly jars and seal.


So far the tally for this year's wild food jelly marathon:

Wineberry 6-1c. jars 2-1/2c. jars

Blackberry 15-1c. jars 8-1/2c. jars

Wild black cherry 7-1 c. jars 5-1/2c. jars

Mint 10-1c. jars 7-1/2c. jars

Rosehip jelly 4-1c. jars 3-1/2c. jars

Rosehip marmalade 8-1c. jars 2-1/2c. jars

Beach plum 5-1c. jars 4-1/2c. jars

Autumn olive 8-1c. jars 12-1/2c. jars

Tomato juice 6 pints

Wild grape 8-1c. jars


For the Letterboxing and Leafpeeping gather on October 17, we are adding a giftbag of a small assortment of homemade jellies and a foraging book to the raffle. I hope it is popular!



SushiGoddess said...

Hi, thank you so much for your wonderful blog and mouthwatering recipes :) I have a question regarding using wild grape juice-- I have read in several foraging books (including 'Stalking the Wild Asparagus' by Euell Gibbons and 'The Forager's Harvest' by Samuel Thayer) that wild grape juice must be allowed to rest overnight, to allow the tartrate to crystalize out, and the juice must be poured off the next day. Otherwise, they say, the resulting jam or jelly made from this juice will be unpleasantly gritty and likely to spoil sooner. They emphasize this step as imperative. However, other books and websites I have read (including yours) make no mention of it. Have you ever experienced this or noticed any problems? Thanks so much :)

The 3 Foragers said...

We have never come across grapes with high levels of tartrates. I have let some of the juice sit, but not the pulp. The white stuff in the juice sinks to the bottom, then I pour off the juice leaving the white stuff behind, but we don't drink the juice very often.

SushiGoddess said...

I decided to go with the puree as is, and I got 7 spectacularly delicious 4 oz. jars of jam from the quart of grapes I collected. The jam did come out a little gritty, but if I had poured off just the juice, I would've lost about 60% of what I had. I don't mind a little grit, in exchange for the amazing flavor of the wild grapes! Thanks again for all the wonderful info :)