Sunday, September 2, 2012

K's Grape Jam

Friday morning on our walk to school, K asked if we could make grape jam over the weekend. When I asked why jam and not jelly, she replied that you always make jam and never jelly. Which, lime aside, is true. Since we had some Bronx grapes in the house and I assumed there would be more at the market on Saturday morning, we decided to give it a try.

Grapes in the pan

A little further along, with water and sugar added

Bronx grapes, if you have not had them, are part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste program. From the Slow Food website:
"The Ark is an international catalog of foods that are threatened by industrial standardization, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage. In an effort to cultivate consumer demand—key to agricultural conservation—only the best tasting endangered foods make it onto the Ark.
Since 1996, more than 800 products from over 50 countries have been added to the international Ark of Taste. The US Ark of Taste profiles over 200 rare regional foods, and is a tool that helps farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, retail grocers, educators and consumers celebrate our country's diverse biological, cultural and culinary heritage."

And on the Bronx grape:  "In 1933 at the Cornell Biological Field Station in Geneva, New York, the Concord crape and the Thompson grape where mixed to for the Bronx Grape.  The Bronx has the robust flavor of the Concord grape and the texture of the Thompson grape.
As the Bronx ripen, they change from slightly tart, firm, pale green grapes to a grape with a honey-like taste, delicate skin and a rosy pink color.  A ripe Bronx Grape has a light, musty and floral perfume.  The grapes are highly vulnerable to splitting while is transit, as their thin skins fracture with even the slightest piercing making the Bronx Grape very limited in production.
Currently only two mother vines exist.  John Lagier, of Lagier Ranches, is the only producer in California to have obtained cuttings of the original Bronx grapevines. Lagier grows organic Bronx grapes on his vineyard in Northern California and sells the grapes at San Francisco Bay Area farmers’ markets."

In K's words, Bronx grapes are: "Pale green to light pink and a normal grape size. They are my favorite grapes and are sweeter and have more flavor than most of the others at the market. I like them frozen because then they taste like sorbet."

And the jam? "I love it. It tastes just like grape jelly, but even better."

Bronx Grape Jam 
Note: This is based on the Easy Grape Jam Recipe in the Ball Home Preserving Book. To my taste, it is rather sweet and if making it for myself, I might add some citrus. But K wanted that classic grape flavor and this is it. It helps a lot to have another child over for a play date to help with removing the grapes from their stems. 

3 1/2 pounds of Bronx grapes, removed from their stems but otherwise whole
1/2 cup water
7 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch ( 3 oz) liquid pectin

In a large pan, heat grapes and water, bringing to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil and stir frequently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and measure out 4 1/2 cups grapes and liquid. Reserve excess, perhaps to make jello? 
Return the 4 1/2 cups of grapes and water to your pan and add 7 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, a task that never ceases to delight K. Turn the heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in the pectin and continue boiling, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. 
Ladle the hot jam into pint size jars and finger seal the lids. Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.

We also made Cinnamon-Raisin Bread to eat this with. Here's K kneading:


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