Muscadine grapes are a sustainable fruit crop in the southeastern United States. They are tolerant of insect and disease pests and they successfully grow at he 40 acre woods without spraying any pesticides.
Typically, muscadine grapes bear dark fruit with around 4 to 10 grapes per cluster. Bronze-fruited muscadine grapes are often referred to as scuppernongs.
I love to eat them fresh from the vine, but they are great for jam, jelly, juice or wine.
Muscadine grapes are low in fat and sodium and have a healthy amount of potassium, fiber and Vitamin C. Many of the phytonutrients present in the muscadine grape have been recognized as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents – the most powerful of these concentrated in the skins and seeds.
Recently a friend in area invited me to pick some of his ripe muscadines for Jam. It does not take many of these vines to produce more than you can use and plenty to share. Here is the recipe we used .
MUSCADINE GRAPE JAM
Makes 8 (8-ounce) jars.
- 6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
- 4-quart heavy bottom pot
- large bowl
- sieve or food mill
- potato masher
- 8 (8-ounce) jelly jars with lids and bands
- canning pot with lid
- wide mouth funnel
- jar lifter
- Rinse the grapes and remove the stems. Pierce each grape with a sharp knife and put them in 6-quart pot. Add water just until the grapes start to float. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the grapes are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mash the grapes using the potato masher.
- Press the mixture through a sieve or use a food mill to separate the pulp from the skins and seeds. Use a spatula to scrape excess pulp from underneath the sieve into the bowl. You should end up with about 6 cups of juice. Transfer the pulp and juice into the 4-quart pot.
- Mix together the pectin and 1/4 cup of the sugar, then add to the grape pulp and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining sugar and bring back to a full boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. The mixture should have small bubbles constantly breaking the surface. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, then test the mixture by spooning a little out onto a plate. Wait a few minutes and check the jam, it should start to set as it cools. If it’s too runny, continue cooking and checking every 5 minutes.
- While the mixture cooks, place the jars in the canning pot and add water until it’s 1 inch over the top of the jars. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat, leaving the jars in for at least 10 minutes. In the small pot, heat water to 180° F. Add the lids and leave them in for at least 10 minutes to soften the sealing compound and sterilize them. Do not boil the lids to avoid seal failure.
- When the mixture is ready, drain and remove the jars from the pot. Turn on the heat for the canning pot and bring the water temperature up to 180° F. Ladle the jam mixture into the jars using the wide mouth funnel, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace. Run a thin spatula around the inside edge of the jar to remove bubbles. Wipe the top of the jars clean with a clean damp cloth and place the hot lids on top. Add the bands and tighten just until finger tight.
- Use the jar lifter to gently lower the jars into the hot water. Cover with the lid and bring back to a rolling boil. Process for 10 minutes, then use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the pot. Place hot jars on a wooden board and leave them for 12 to 24 hours, until they cool completely. Check for a seal after they have cooled. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to 12 months. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.
When somebody shares some of there muscadines with you, make sure you share some of the jam with them. That’s the way we do it at the 40 acre woods.