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Concord Grape Jam
(recipe, Adriana Velez)
- 3 lb. concord grapes
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Concord Grape Jam: Skin the grapes
- This is a pain to do, but it goes faster than you think it will. It’s also kind of gross, but kind of fun. If you have kids in the kitchen, they’ll make perfect little helpers.
- Grab a grape. Remove the stem. Give it a gentle squeeze between your thumb and first two fingers. The skin will split, and the meat of the grape will pop right out.
- Do this over a bowl, so you can catch the juice that the grapes give off. There’ll be a fair amount of it and you’ll want to toss that into the jam pot with the fruit.
- Keep the grapes in a bowl and set the skins aside in another (or just heap them in a pile, like I did). Repeat until you’ve skinned all your grapes.
- Concord Grape Jam: Puree the skins
- Once all your grapes are peeled, put the skins in the food processor. (I’m reasonably sure a good blender would work for this, but haven’t tested it.) Toss in 1 cup of the sugar.
- Process them on high for a minute or two. The skins will combine with the sugar and completely liquify. This is fun and feels like magic. (Hey, it’s the little things!) It happens almost instantly, and is delightfully shocking to see. Be careful from this point on. This stuff stains like mad.
- The mixture will be thick, like this, and flecked with bits of grape skin. That’s just fine. You’re going to strain the mixture eventually. (Give it a taste. It’s heavenly already.)
- Concord Grape Jam: Cook the jam
- Put the pureed skins in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the peeled grapes. Add the lemon juice, as well. And the remaining 2 cups of sugar. Stir the whole mess up to combine it well. Set the pot on the stove over high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally.
- Once it boils, drop the heat low enough so that the jam maintains a simmer—but doesn’t rapidly boil.
- Cook like this for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep an eye on the heat. If the jam feels like it’s sticking to the bottom of the pot when you stir, lower your heat a little. (If you keep the heat too high, it will scorch and your jam will have a burnt taste.)
- After 20 minutes, your jam will have thickened and reduced.
- Concord Grape Jam: Strain the jam
- Before you start, grab a plate and put it in the freezer. You’ll need it to test the jam in a few minutes.
- Set a large, heatproof bowl on the counter. Fit a strainer on top. Pour the jam through the strainer, into the bowl. Be very careful when you do this. It may be delicious, but boiling hot jam is like napalm.
- With a spatula, push the jam through the strainer. Keep smooshing it until most of the jam is in the bowl, and you’re left with a lump of seedy pulp in the strainer.
- Concord Grape Jam: Test the jam for doneness
- This is the part where the recipe gets a little imprecise. Now, at this point, your jam should be pretty thick. But the question is: Is it thick enough? Let’s find out.
- Grab that plate that you just stashed in your freezer a few minutes ago. It should be very cold to the touch. If it’s not, stick it back in until it is.
- When your plate is cold, drop a spoonful of hot jam on it in a little puddle. Pop the plate back into the freezer for 1 minute. (Yep, just one minute will do the trick.)
- After 1 minute, yank the plate out. Tip the plate on its side. The jam should stay where it is in a blob, not run down the plate. Next, scoot the jam a little with a finger. The jam should have a skin that wrinkles up.
- If your jam passes both these tests, it’s done! If it’s still too thin, take the strained jam and simmer it for another few minutes. Then test it again. Repeat until it’s thick enough.
- Concord Grape Jam: Jar, serve, and enjoy!
- Ladle your warm jam into clean, sterilized jars. Let them cool to room temperature, then cover them and pop them in the fridge.