Easy To Make Homemade Wild Grape Jam

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.

Plastic Bags of Picked Wild Mustang Grapes

Picked Wild Mustang Grapes in Plastic Bags

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.

Mustang Grapes Soaking in Water

Wild Mustang Grapes Soaking in Water

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.

Mustang Grapes that have been Triple Washed

Triple Washed Wild Mustang Grapes

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.

Colander of Wild Mustang Grapes

Wild Mustang Grapes Triple Washed, Plucked and in a Colander

I washed the grapes again and then poured them into a large pot with two cups of water.

Pot filled with Mustang Grapes

Mustang Grapes in a Pot to be Boiled

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.

Mustang Grapes Boiled Down

Mustang Grapes Boiled Down

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.

Mustang Grapes Boiled and with the Juice Being Separated

Mustang Grapes Boiled and with the Juice Being Separated through a Colander

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.

A pot of 14 Cups of Mustang Grape Juice and Pulp

15 Cups of Juice and Pulp of Mustang Grapes in a Pot

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.

Mustang Grape Jam Being Boiled

Mustang Grape Jam Being Boiled

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.

Jars of Wild Mustang Grape Jam

Wild Mustang Grape Jam in Jars

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.

Mustang Grape Jam with Peanut Butter & Toast

Homemade Mustang Grape Jam with Peanut Butter & Toast



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    • The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time on July 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm
    • Reply

    I want to find some Mustang grapes just so I can make jelly with that name! It’s so much more cool than saying concord grape jelly. I love your step-by-step instructions and photos. Very helpful. You’re right, too; the color is gorgeous. I doubt those grapes grow here in North Carolina, but I’m going to have me a look-around. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mom Chef,

      Thanks for the compliment. Mustang Grapes probably do not grow as far east as North Carolina, but if you along country rows, hedges or along stream banks you should be able to find Muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) and some other varieties of wild grapes native to the Mid-Atlantic. Thanks for checking out the website. Next weekend there will be a post on making Mustang Grape Jelly.

    • Amanda on July 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm
    • Reply

    I just made it this way with the grapes growing along our fenceline and it came out fantastic!!

    • Collette on August 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm
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    I just found my own motherload of grapes. I love how many times you washed and inspected them. I thought I was the only one like that 😉

    • laszlo on September 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm
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    I will be attempting for the first time your wild grape jelly recipe.Fourteen years I have smelled the sweet aroma of grapes in my yard.never before utilyzing them.I hope I can do it justice my first time.thankyou.

    • danny on September 20, 2013 at 11:53 am
    • Reply

    Praise the lord for finding a simple process of making locally grown grape jelly.thank you so very much,I’ve smelled the sweet grape aroma in the late summer for years and after 30+ yrs,I’m now making the jelly like there’s nothing to it thanks to you.I’m from auburn,ma and there’s an abundance of these grapes from the heavens in my area and I’ve now got a tasty hobbie.thank you thank you and Good God Bless you ….

    • Delores Love on September 28, 2013 at 11:15 am
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    This will be my first attempt to make wild grape jelly, I am excited. We live in Ontario, Canada and with our great climate we are blessed with lots of wild fruit. Thanks

    • MaryM on September 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm
    • Reply

    Yahooo, I found myself a mother lode of wild grapes, gonna go out and pick them and make some jelly and juice! Thanks for the info, will be sure to wash, wash, wash and keep washing.

    • LindaB on July 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm
    • Reply

    Just finished my first ever grape jam following your recipe….wow!!! The jam is great…better than I ever imagined. I’m fortunate enough to have a bumper crop of Mustang grapes on my property here in north Texas this year. I had no idea this stuff was so good. I have been a Welch’s Grape Jam girl all of my life until NOW! Thanks for the great instructions.

    • Robbie Caldwell on July 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm
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    I found some this weekend and I’m making jam. It’s the first time I’ve ever canned anything. Wish me luck

    • Toni on July 22, 2014 at 9:30 pm
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    Hey how ‘s it goin? Well today I picked my first grapes. I have a question tho how soft are they when picked? The ones I picked seem to be pretty soft but kept their shape when I picked them and some got squashed, In all I picked 3/4 of a brown paper bag. So I will start them tomorrow after work, wish me luck! Thankx Toni

    • SaraH on October 11, 2014 at 8:10 am
    • Reply

    Hi , I’m from England……..how much in weight is a “cup” ?

      • Mary Mac on October 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm
      • Reply

      Google it

    • Harry on July 16, 2015 at 7:30 am
    • Reply

    On Tuesday I picked about 4 gallons of mustang grapes up in Hempstead. My wife and I clean, sorted and cooked up 14 cups of juice. We were able to make 3 batches of jelly.
    Here it is Thursday morning and most of the jelly has not coagulated. One batch of only 4 cups of juice coagulated in about 10 minutes of taking it out of the bath. The two batches of 5 cups of juice are semi-solic at this writing.
    Do I need to remain a little more patient or do I need to re-cook those two batches and add more pectin to them?


      • Mary Mac on October 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm
      • Reply

      This happened to me also. I re-cooked them adding more pectin and more sugar. I also kept a spoon in a cup of ice and tested the juice every few minutes to see if it thickened. When it did, after more sugar and pectin than the recipe called for, I poured it into jars and put them in a water bath. The next batch did the same thing, I did the same thing but it didn’t thicken up as well. I’m trying again this weekend, 3rd try better be the charm:]

        • Kranek on October 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm
        • Reply

        Forget the timer and learn to recognize when the the jam or jelly is ready to set. Using a large metal spoon stir the jam every couple of minutes. Lift the spoon out of the liquid on edge and watch the drips. The liquid will drip from the lowest point of the spoon. Eventually, about 5 to 10 minutes, the liquid will drip from two points on the spoon, two separate drips. This will give a soft set. If you continue boiling a little longer the two drips will drop with a sheet of jel between them. This will give the jelly a firmer set. You will learn how much set you like, probably different for different kinds of jam.

    • Jane on July 17, 2015 at 8:55 am
    • Reply

    My fencelines are overloaded with grapes, but my efforts at grape jam had mixed results in the past. Your recipe is, by far, the easiest and most delicious.
    Thanks so much!

    • Dana Hudson on June 19, 2016 at 11:34 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for your post. I have a ranch in south Texas with an abundant amount of wild grapes this summer. I harvested some grapes and followed your recipe and the directions on the pectin box. It was surprisingly easy and the jam turned out fabulous! I used the recommended amount of 5 cups of juice (with some pulp because I used a strainer instead of using cheesecloth) to 7 cups of sugar. It worked perfectly for the highly acidic grapes, and the jam turned out amazingly delicious. I do not have much experience with canning, nor do I have all the fancy pots and pans. Just some large pots and lots of boiling. It took me about 6 hours from picking to canning. Not a bad day’s work!
    Once again, thanks!
    Happy canning!
    PS–If you follow the directions on the pectin box, you are only able to cook and jar 8 cups per batch. I picked too may grapes and had to discard some of my juice. My advice is to only pick as may grapes as you can can in one batch.

    • Kate on August 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    • Reply

    I too have found the mother load of grapes here in Minneapolis, but someone pick them for me and many of them are still a bit greenish. Will they ripen any further after they are picked, and if not, do I have to discard anything that isn’t completely right? I would really appreciate an answer because these bad boys are sitting soaking in my kitchen sink right now!

    1. Unfortunately grapes, unlike other fruits, do not continue to ripen once picked. You could probably still use them, but you will have a more sour flavoured jam and you may need more pectin to help it set.

    • wally kimmich on August 19, 2018 at 10:06 am
    • Reply

    I put up a batch of grapes yesterday. It remained a liquid never firmed up, What can I do?

    1. You probably need to simmer the fruit for longer or use pectin to help firm up the jam

    • Sherry on August 25, 2018 at 6:14 pm
    • Reply

    I used to have three places to get my grapes, but no longer. I am in Katy, but not very mobile. Will a scooter make it on the bike trail? Where on Mason Creek do you find them? I just want a few to make a batch in memory of my dad who just passed away. This was his favorite jam, and we used to make tons of it to use and give away. Thanks in advance for sharing this location. I promise not to overpick.

    • Gwen Curtis on September 3, 2018 at 9:58 am
    • Reply

    Please can you define what a cup is? In the UK we do not measure in cups as we have evolved to use scales.
    Do you mean egg cups, coffee cups, tea cups or bra cups?
    Please use kilos/grams or pounds/ounces , we understand these.

    1. Since this recipe was created by an American, this is why they used cups as the measurement. For future reference an American cup is 340g or 12oz

    • Judy on June 30, 2019 at 8:41 pm
    • Reply

    I have some juice left over, can I refrigerate it until I can pick some more grapes

    • Kate on August 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm
    • Reply

    Hi! I have just finished making some using the Native “Rogers Red” Grape in Southern California, which I have over an arbor in our back garden. It is intensely dark, smells incredible, and I can’t wait to taste it. However, you didn’t go on about boiling the jam to preserve it longer-term. Did you do this?

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