For those of you who live near Boston, you might know the Minuteman Bike Trail! A old train track converted into a bike trail that extends from Alewife Station in Cambridge to Arlington to Lexington to Bedford. Not only is it a beautiful path to bike along in the fall, but it has some wild Concord grapes still growing along it's borders. Keep an eye out for them in the fall next time you are biking.
James and I found a particularly prolific vine in the fall of 2010, took a kitchen stool out there, and balanced precariously on it to reach some of the higher, untouched grapes. These dark, purple grapes are incredibly flavorful. Very different than what you get in the store.
Here they are all squished. Thank you, James, for that laborious and time-intensive task! After the camera clicked, it took him maybe 5-10 minutes to finish squishing the grapes. You want to break as many of them open as possible.
Here we are straining the skins, seeds, and pulp from the juice. Let the juice drip out of the pulp for a good hour. Or squish it out as James is doing below. Squishing the juice out speeds up the process, but it also might make a cloudy jelly. Both will have the same lovely grape-y flavor. It's just a matter of personal preference.
Here's the jelly recipe we used. Pretty simple. You don't need to add pectin if you have some green grapes in the mix. By boiling the grapes down, you're releasing some of the natural pectins in the grape seeds and skins.
For every 2 parts grape, use 1/2 - 1 parts sugar. Add some lemon juice for flavor (optional)... not required in this recipe to up the acidity. No pectin required.
Simmer until it begins to look like this as it drips off the spoon:
If canning, pour jelly into sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4-1/2 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath canner for 5-10 minutes.
Ta-daah! Grape jelly.