Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spiced Grape Jam

Went to the co-op and they had tons of champagne grapes in the reduced bin. They're one of my favorites right now, I like them frozen and they're delicious in rich yoghurt. Boxes of them sell for something like $3.50 each, generally making them a bit out of my price range for regular consumption, but at $.50/lb, I bought four boxes and thought I'd try making some sort of preserves with them.

They were in the reduced bin because they were a bit mushy on the bottom, but I picked through and washed them meticulously and they produced about 5 1/2 cups. 

I read through a lot of recipes for grapes, mostly grape jellies. I didn't really want jelly, I think it's too sugary and a little boring. I like whole chunks of fruit, but I didn't want it to be too watery either so I bought a box of Pomona's Universal Pectin. I found their directions to be rather confusing, but after flipping the sheet over a few times I decided to loosely follow their directions for blueberry jam. 

I added warm spices to it because recently I've been smelling autumn in the air. 

5 1/2 c champagne grapes
1 c sugar
2 tsp pectin (+2 tsp calcium water)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 pinch salt

Filled 4 half pint jars

Put all the fruit in a pan and mashed it with my hands a bit, but not too much since I wanted some of the grapes whole, so they'd swell in the heat. Also added the calcium water at this point, apparently it helps the pectin set.

I simmered them for about forty minutes, stirring regularly so no burning occurred. At first they produced a lot of water (no foam, though), then halfway through the water began to reduce to a syrup. 

At about twenty minutes, I added a cup of sugar and the syrup thickened earnestly. 

At forty minutes I dusted in the pectin and stirred it for five-ish minutes. 

Ladled it into sterilized half pint jars, sealed and water-bathed them for 10 minutes.

The jam is delicious. One of my favorites I've made. Kind of reminds me of Christmas, in a way. It jelled perfectly fine, and there are plenty of fat swollen fruits in it. I might use a little less sugar next time, and more spices. I think it'll be good in yogurt and on ice cream or possibly as a filling for a pastry. 

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