Is it jam or is it jelly?

Grapes in September

Grapes in September

As I’ve mentioned previously, we’ve had a really nice crop of grapes this year.  I lost the label for this particular grape variety, but it is a light red, almost pink, seedless grape that clearly does well in the Pacific Northwest.  We easily had four times the amount of grapes you see in the picture above, which is not bad for a vine that is only a few years old.  With so many grapes, I decided to try making grape jam, something I’ve never done before.  The results were, well, interesting.

Grapes, boiling for jam

Grapes, boiling for jam

Following the “easy grape jam” recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, I picked, washed, and prepared 3.5 lbs of fresh grapes. The recipe requires boiling the grapes and using a liquid pectin.  While the grapes were boiling, I tried to mash them up a bit so I wouldn’t have completely whole grapes in the jam.

Grape jam or jelly?

Grape jam or jelly?

After I completed the canning process, it became apparent quickly that the jam solids and liquid separated pretty significantly. The top, darker, part of the jar contains the grape solids and looks like jam.  The bottom is pretty much solid-free and looks like jelly.  This wasn’t what I intended, but it isn’t exactly a canning disaster. Has this happened to anyone else?  Any thoughts or recommendations?  Now if I could only find a grape jam recipe that uses less sugar.  Seems such a shame to make jam using a recipe that requires way more sugar than actual fruit.

Rose hips on rugosa rose

Rose hips on rugosa rose

My canning efforts are quickly winding down, but I have an idea for at least one more project.  I have a lot of really pretty rose hips.  I did a quick search and found a recipe for rose hip jam.  Has anyone attempted this before? Any other ideas for what to do with the hips?


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7 Responses to Is it jam or is it jelly?

  1. KitsapFG says:

    My peach jam did the same thing – solids at top and more of a jelly at the lower portion of the jar. It’s all good and we consumed the first jar of it in a HUGE hurry! I would not worry about it and enjoy the beautiful grape jam/jelly combo!

    I have heard you can make a rosehip tea but have never done it.

  2. Mom says:

    You could also add some rosehips to apple jelly for color. (I’ve done the same thing with the fruit from Cornus mas.)

  3. Dave says:

    Just don’t let Derek loose on the idea of turning it into wine. Or maybe you should, come to think of it. Alan’s wines can be pretty good so perhaps he’ll get his father’s secret recipe out and go to town.

  4. sustainableeats says:

    Enjoy your grapes! I lucked into a large amount of concord grapes that we juiced and the kids and dh are wild for it. It never made it to jelly or jam!

    I know you can make jelly from rosehips or dry them for tea. They are very high in Vit C so a great source of “local” vit c. I’ve read you should pick them after the first frosts have softened them. I have a very old French recipe for rosehip jam where you marinate them in white wine for a week before jamming them. Email me if you want it.

    As far as low sugar grape recipes if you use pomona’s pectin it does not require sugar to set so you can make it to taste. I made my plum jam with 5 cups fruit to 1 cup sugar (vs traditional 4 cups fruit to 5 cups sugar). It tastes so fresh and fruity, not like suar.

  5. ribbit says:

    I know it’s too late now, but as the jars are cooling, flip them every so often and the fruity bits will suspend themselves as they travel with gravity and the gel thickens.

  6. Ozarkhomesteader says:

    I’m calling what we made this year jelly-jam. I smashed the grapes, cooked them, and then ran them through the hand food mill, but I didn’t strain the mixture through a jelly bag. I’ve got even consistency but not the clarity of jelly. I used very little sugar and a pectin made for low-sugar recipes. I agree with you; our grapes were plenty sweet without adding sugar.

  7. Liz says:

    About the rose hips, the tiny hairs inside of them are very irritating so don’t get them in your rose hip jam and protect your fingers from them. There are stories of itching and irritation at the rectum after the body processes the jam and it exits if the hairs are allowed in the jam or what ever else you make from it! No joke, look it up on line.

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