Recently I found the mother lode of wild grapes growing near my home in Katy, TX. Since the wild Mustang Grapes (Vitis mustangensis) are not suitable for eating fresh (too acidic), I knew that I was going to be canning homemade grape jam. In the post Homemade Garden Grape Jam, Welch’s Take Note!, I detailed how to make jam from grapes with seeds, however in this post I provide greater detail (more pictures) on the specific steps required.
Regardless if the grapes are grown in your own yard or picked wild, they need to be thoroughly inspected, washed, soaked and inspected again when plucked from the stem.
I triple washed and soaked the grapes to ensure that any possible external debris was removed from the grapes. As I washed the grapes, I also removed any grapes that appeared damaged or withered.
Once the grapes had been cleaned, I then inspected them again as I plucked the grapes from from the stems. In all, I had enough plucked grapes to nearly fill two colanders.
I washed the grapes again and then poured them into a large pot with two cups of water.
I turned on the stove to medium-high and allowed the grapes to boil down, stirring occasionally until all the grapes had burst. The best indicator that the grapes are thoroughly boiled is when stirring there are no whole grapes and all that is remaining is a pot full of grape juice, pulp, skin and seeds.
Once the grape “stew” had cooled, I poured the mixture through a colander to separate the juice and pulp from the seeds and skin. After the majority of the juice and pulp had been separated, I pushed down on the mass of skin and seeds to collect any remaining juice.
In all, 15 cups of grape juice and pulp were created. I tasted the grape juice to determine if the juice was too acidic and required the addition of sodium bicarbonate. It did not. The tartness of the juice was far less than the acidity of the grapes when eaten fresh.
Following the instructions on the box of Pectin, I combined 5 Cups of Grape Juice with 1 Box of Pectin and brought the mixture to a boil. I then added 7 Cups of Sugar; thoroughly mixing the ingredients until the jam mixture came was brought to a roiling boil for 1 Minute.I removed the pot of jam from the burner and then prepared to fill the jars that had been sterilized earlier.
There is no lack of instructions in books, the internet or family recipes on how to successfully can jams, jellies or preserves. Despite all of this information, I still refer to the instructions provided with the box of Pectin and still refer to the PDF available from Ball Preserving.
In addition to licking the spoon and ladle of the Wild Mustang Grape Jam, my first official “taste test” was with toast and peanut butter. The flavor of the jam was intense, similar to Concord Grapes with the texture of the jam being smooth. What is most amazing is the deep purple bordering on black color of the jam.