Wild Grape Jelly

Our grapes in mid-July

This is a recipe passed down from my great-grandmother through my grandmother to me.   I do remember my great -grandmother, but my own personal memories of childhood is of a funny, sweet, frail woman.   From family lore, she is remembered as a strong woman who survived by her pioneer spirit.  Her family of eight children did not have many material items, but as my grandmother simply said, “They made do.” 

They must have foraged the wild grapes (much in the same way as I remember my grandmother foraging asparagus by the side of the road in early spring). 

I have tried this recipe with the grapes from our back fence.  I gave out jars of this jelly a few years ago as Christmas presents to family members with this recipe typed on the card. 

This recipe is in my grandmother’s own words.

Wild Grape Jelly

Cut small bunches of grapes from large stems.  Wash well. 

Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 

Drain through colander lined with cheese cloth or thin muslin. 

This recipe calls for pectin.  Since the pioneer women did not have this they would cook some green fruit with the ripe. 

6 cups wild grape juice

Juice of one lemon (strained)

1 package powdered fruit pectin

7 ½ cups of sugar

Bring to a boil.  Add 1 package powdered fruit pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  Stir in 7 1/2 cups of sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim.  Pour into hot jars and seal.

We have a lot a grapes set on and I hope to have enough for at least one batch of jelly.  It seems like they are usually ready around the second week of August (any day now).   

We will have enough if we can keep the neighbor kids away—they seem fascinated that we are growing grapes and I think they keep watch over them more than we do.

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