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How I Turned 5 Pounds of Sour Grapes into Awesome Jam

Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has certain advantages.  For example, we're rated as the "healthiest city" because of the health system and extensive parks. Among these benefits, I continuously hear about the Saturday Marketplace in Kerrytown (the historical district of Ann Arbor). 

This is where farmers bring all their produce, eggs, and homemade goods to sell, and I have missed every last one of these for the past 5 years of living in Ann Arbor.  So last Saturday, I was determined to make it just this once and dragged myself there early morning.


I ended up buying this bag of grapes, actually two bags, because the seller tricked me by saying: "for an extra dollar you can get another bag" and I was like "great, let's do another one then." Big mistake. The grapes were sour, seeded, and miserable.  No one in their right mind would eat the damn things.  I now realize concord grapes are a cross between sour blueberries and seeded grapes.

So then the grapes (now fully ripe) sat in my fridge, taking up room and using up energy.

I decided to make a project out of this, and googled "homemade grape jam" and found this great recipe on pickyourown.org.  Here's my slightly altered version because I never follow cooking directions exactly.

Step 1: Mash grapes (use spoon or potato masher).

Step 2: Boil mashed grapes. Then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Pour grapes through strainer to get just the juice out.

Step 4: Boil grape juice and a package of Pectin mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar (found near canning jars in any grocery store).

Step 5: Add the same amount of sugar as there was grape juice (i.e. 2 cups sugar to 2 cups grape juice). 

Step 6: Boil it for a few minutes.  Then pour into sterilized canning jars.  Twist tightly to seal.

Step 7: Boil entire jars of jam in a water canner for 5-10 minutes, then take it out to cool and you're done.

This whole thing cost me roughly $1.50 for a normal sized jar you can get at the grocery store.  And it took me less than half hour to make 5 jars, so if you ever get screwed with buying too many grapes — make it into jam and save a little money :)

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018