Thursday, 28 October 2010

How to Make Muscadine Jelly using Apple Pectin

Ever since I got my chinois, I’ve had the itch to make more jelly. A chinois is such a handy gadget and makes the process of making jelly so much easier. I was also itching to use some of the Apple Jelly pectin I made a few weeks ago.

So I got some muscadine grapes from the farmer’s market to make this delicious Muscadine Jelly and used homemade apple pectin instead commercial pectin.

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Muscadines are large grapes, with large seeds and a stronger flavor.  They are commonly found in the South.  My mom made jelly from the muscadines growing in her yard, but I got mine from the farmer’s market. 

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How to Make Homemade Muscadine Jelly

I found the recipe and instructions here and adapted it to use with homemade apple pectin.

Makes about Five 8 oz. Jars


5 lbs fresh Muscadine Grapes
1 Pouch Liquid Pectin (I substituted homemade Apple Jelly pectin.)
7 cups of dry granulated sugar


Wash the muscadines in cold water and pick out any stems and leaves.

Then crush them up.  I started out using a potato masher to crush them, but opted for the easy route and used my food processor.

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Then I finished the job with my potato masher.  What ever method you want to use to mash them is fine, you’ll just need about 6 cups of juice.

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Put the crushed muscadines in a big pot on the stove and heat over medium to high heat until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. This will help release the juice and break down some of the fruit.

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At this point, you can put the cooked muscadines through a jelly strainer or pour them through a cheese cloth.  I opted to use my favorite new tool, a chinois.

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You just use the handy wooden tool to push the juice through.

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I extracted the jelly using the chinois, then put the jelly through a strainer to ensure it was completely strained.

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You can also use some wet cheesecloth in the strainer to make sure it’s strained.  Since I had already run it through the chinios, I didn’t think this was necessary.

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Next, in a large, deep stainless steel pan, I combined the muscadine juice and sugar and heated it on medium-high heat until it reached a full rolling boil (the kind that cannot be stirred down). 

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Then, I added the pectin.   You can use a pouch of liquid pectin (or boxed pectin) for this part, but I used the homemade apple pectin I made a few weeks ago instead.

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I plopped the apple jelly pectin into the pot and brought the mixture back to a full rolling boil and let it boil hard for 1 minute.

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To ensure the jelly had reached the gel stage, I kept a metal spoon in a glass of ice water.  I took a half spoonful of the mixture and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon to check for thickness.

Note: The instructions on the original recipe suggest that if you don’t get a good gel the first time, you can add more pectin. Or, you can just have a little bit runny jelly if you don’t want to add more pectin. I’ll leave that to your discretion. 

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After the gel had set, I poured the jelly into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  I wiped the rim to ensure a good seal and centered the lids on the jars.

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Finally, I added the rings and processed the jars for 10 minutes using the water-bath canning method. If you live in a higher altitude or need more detailed instructions on water-bath canning, please refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation

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Once the jars had processed for 10 minutes, I removed the canner lid, waited 5 minutes, and removed the jars to the counter.  I let them sit on the counter for a few days to ensure the gel had set.  It didn’t take that long though.  Now, these babies are in a cool, dark place waiting to be enjoyed.

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I had a little bit of jelly that didn’t fit into the jars I processed, so I put it in the refrigerator to enjoy on some homemade bread.  Yummy!


Happy Canning and Baking!

Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures.

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