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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Muscadine Jam!

It's fall here in the south, and that means native local muscadine grapes are at all the farmers markets for cheap! I bought a batch last week and I've been munching on them like they're little plums. I had an idea that I would make, like, an Italian-style cornmeal-olive oil cake out of them, but I didn't have enough oil and by the time I decided on jam, I didn't have enough left so I bought more.

So this is about one and a half of those little green berry baskets they sell small fruit in at the market.

So here's a loose tutorial on making jam!

First, get a big pot and put your jars in it. Being it to a summer and keep it there. You should probably use new jars; I don't have any, and I don't expect this nectar of the gods to need to last that long!

Muscadines! God I love musky fruit. These babies, scuppernongs (the green ones), guavas, mangoes. Ugh, I just love them.

But muscadines do have this super thick skin that regular grapes don't, so there's this extra step, plus I always save seeds, so that's an extra step, too:

Cut open the grapes...

Separate the pulp. I dropped it straight into the measuring cup, so I wouldn't lose all that fabulous juice. Note how much pulp and juice you have...

Save all those seeds. I'll be figuring out how to get these babies to grow over the winter so I can have baby grape-topiaries next year...

See how much skins you have...

Add a little water and blenderize until those thick skins are all weensie little shreds. 

All together, pulp and skins, I had about 4c of fruit-goo to throw in the pot (no reactive of course), like so...

Cook it down until the fruit bits are falling apart. I mushed them with a potato masher because the spatula I was using was too soft to mush anything, and I for impatient. All together, it was maybe 20 mins before...

Add the sugar! All the recipes I looked at before this had about a 1-fruit to 3/4-sugar ratio, so 4c fruit would be about 3 c sugar; I used about 2 1/2 c because they were sweet grapes and the bowl I was measuring into didn't hold another half cup.

Cook it. A lot. Somewhere between a half hour and an hour, on medium, so it boils properly but doesn't splatter all over your kitchen like napalm. Cook until the fruit is all broken down, the skin is all tender, everything is dark purple, and it starts jelling. Look for the stuff to "sheet" off the spatula instead of dripping, and put some on a plate, let it cool until you can touch it. Then see if it still drips; if it doesn't, it's jellified!

Get those hot jars out of the hot water and fill with the hot jam! Leave a half inch or inch of space to make a suction as it cools; cap loosely with the hot lids. Put them back in the water and cook for ten minutes or so, then pull out to cool. Tighten the kids as soon as you can touch the jars without melting your fingerprints off. If you're using new jars, they'll ping as they cool; mine didn't do that. If they seal right, they'll store at room temperature; I'm keeping mine in the fridge to be safe.


Ps: kindly disregard my messy-ass stovetop; I'm a terrible housekeeper and it's a constant battle with myself!


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