Concord grape jam, 1/2 hour later

Epic Concord Grape Freezer Jam

Last week, I promised you my recipe for (epic) Concord grape freezer jam, and I am a girl of my word!

But first, some backstory.

A couple weeks ago, I went shopping at the new Friendly City Food Co-Op here in downtown H’burg. (They’re open to the public – go there now!). I was out of grapes – the seedless kind that I can eat mindlessly while moseying to work. At the checkout counter, the clerk asked if I’d ever eaten Concord grapes.

Nope.

He excitedly ran around the counter, plucked a bunch off of the grape stand, and handed them to me. “They have seeds, and some people don’t like to eat the skins, but I just eat the whole thing. They’re so good!” he said. I pondered how I was going to gracefully eat a grape with seeds and inedible skins while standing in line at the grocery store. Whatevs! I ate a grape.

Holy $%&!! It tasted like grape jelly!

All these years, I thought that grape jelly was just some sort of frankenfood, because it never tasted like grapes. I figured it must have been a made-up flavor, just called “grape” for some weird reason. It never struck me that I was eating the “wrong” kind of grapes, or that grape jelly was made from grapes other than the red and green seedless ones I was used to eating. Duh. So, I’m a little slow. My Food IQ has been traditionally very low!

I was immediately determined to make my own Concord grape freezer jam.

After much Googling, it became clear to me that nobody on the planet had recorded a simple account of their Concord grape freezer jam making experience. I found hodge-podge mash-ups of partial methods, tons of half-arsed instructions, and many traditional jam methods (with the whole boil-your-jars and all that jazz) – but no true freezer jam methods.

Fear not, my friends. I made freezer jam from Concord grapes, and I’m going to tell you exactly how I did it. The results are divinely delicious – dare I say, epic.

Unlike most freezer jam, Concord grape jam does require a little cooking – but don’t worry. It’s nothing hardcore (though you can call it hardcore if you’re going for a more bad-ass jar of jam. The whole grape peeling part surely earns you some bad-ass kitchen cred).

You’ll need a food processor (or immersion blender or something of that nature), a fine sieve/strainer, a potato masher, a medium sized sauce pan, a medium bowl, a small bowl, 3 8-oz jam jars/lids, 2/3 cup sugar or other sweetener by equivalent sweetness, not volume (separated 1/3 and 1/3), and 2 Tbsp no-cook instant pectin. You can use less sugar if you’d like a less sweet jam.

Let’s rock it:

1. Buy some Concord grapes. A small batch of jam is three 8-oz jars. To make that, you’ll need just under 2 cups of prepared grapes (about 1 2/3 cups, in my case), and for me, that required 3 containers of grapes. The container said 1 liter, but that made no sense. My containers were the ones that measure about 8 inches long by 4 inches wide. 3 of those.

2. Peel those grapes. Pull a grape off the stem, then squeeze the end between your thumb and forefinger. The guts of the grape will slide out easily. Put the guts into a saucepan, and the peel into your food processor. It took me a little over an hour to peel all those grapes. Employing child labor here might be wise.

Peeled Concord grapes

Grape guts: peeled Concord grapes

3. Once all of your grape guts are in the sauce pan, add a little bit of water (no more than 1/3 cup) and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Why? Because this is the easiest way to separate the seeds.

Concord grape skins

Concord grape skins

4. In the meantime, your skins should now be collected in the food processor. Add 1/3 cup sugar and process until smooth. Be careful – this is where things have the potential to get REALLY messy. The skins don’t make much of a mess themselves, but once you puree them, the purple will stain anything and everything. (I am the Voice of Experience).

Blending Concord grape skins with sugar

Blending Concord grape skins with sugar

5. Turn the heat off the grape guts (OK fine… pulp… the grape pulp…). Grab your sieve, and position it over a bowl. Pour the grape pulp into the sieve and mash the pulp through the sieve with a potato masher. Your goal here is to remove all of the seeds but get as much pulp through as possible.

Mash the grape guts to separate seeds

Mash the grape guts to separate seeds

6. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar with 2 Tbsp instant pectin.

7. Pour the pureed grape skin mixture into the sauce pan with the grape pulp. Add the sugar/pectin mixture. Stir for 3 minutes.

Add the pureed skins to the grape guts

Add the pureed skins to the grape guts

8. Ladle the grape mixture into jam jars. Make sure to leave 1/2 inch of head space at the top of each jar so that there’s room for expansion during freezing. You don’t want grape jam exploding all over your freezer.

9. Let the jars sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

Concord grape jam, 1/2 hour later

Concord grape jam, 1/2 hour later

10. Refrigerate jars that will be eaten within 3 weeks. Freeze the rest. Done!

The jam will thicken over time, though it’s perfectly spreadable right away.

Concord grape jam, 1 day later

Concord grape jam, 1 day later

While Concord grape jam is a little more labor intensive than other freezer jams due to the peeling and de-seeding process, what I appreciate most (besides the simple, pure deliciousness of unadulterated jam) is that I know exactly what’s in my jam. By that, I mean – I know for a fact there are no chemicals, no genetically modified sweeteners, no junk. My jars of jam contain organic Concord grapes, pectin, and vegan cane sugar. End of story. My jam is cheaper than buying pre-made organic stuff, and tastes so much better!

As a result of making this wonderful jam, I’ve been eating way too many PB&J’s. This picture was taken a few days after making the jam. It’s even thicker now.

Concord grape jam

Concord grape jam

So, there you have it! Epic Concord grape freezer jam in 10 easy steps!

25 thoughts on “Epic Concord Grape Freezer Jam

  1. YUM! I love freezer jam because it tastes just like ripe fresh fruit. Cooked fruit tastes different (although it can also be very good) it’s just different. Wonder if I can find concord grapes anywhere or if you could use pure concord grape juice? Hmmmmm

  2. Hey! Well, the small world of the internet is vast indeed, and I just so happened to have had the SAME “ah ha! that’s what a grape tastes like!” experience with concord grapes! (except mine was last summer…)

    I blogged about it on my old food blog… http://smalltomatoes.blogspot.com/2010/10/hoard-concord.html

    The only part that’s dissimilar is the ‘freezer’ part. I never really thought about doing this before. So you freeze it instead of processing it to create a vacuum? I can see the time-saving benefits here…. although I enjoy having jars of jam in the pantry… makes me feel like a homesteader or something haha.

    Anyway, nice work!

  3. OMG! I don’t peel the grapes too much work! Put the grapes whole is a sauce pan with a small amount of water. Heat until the skin burst. Mash or gind them through a foley food mill or food processor then strain through a cheesecloth bag or a fine seive. Voila you have the juice to make your jelly or drink it. As you wish.

  4. I have a huge crop this year of Concord grapes and I am diabetic and wonder if splenda is ok to use in the jam. I love just eating them also would like to make juice.

  5. Hi Betty! I’ve read of other people using Splenda with no problems. In cases of recipes where yeast is eating the sugar, for example, substitutes might not work, but for jam, it’s just for flavoring and sweetness. I’d say, go for it!

  6. I believe sugar also acts as a preservative, so splenda may shorten the shelf life.

  7. Have you ever added any alcohol to your grape jam? I make my black cap and strawberry jams with some bourbon but I usually don’t bother with freezing since we eat everything I make in days (never mind weeks!) BUT we have a lot of grapes. I don’t think even my family could finish them off! Soooo I was wondering if there would be a problem freezing the jam with alcohol in it? I thought brandy would go nicely with the grapes.

  8. I’ve never tried adding alcohol! Since the alcohol itself won’t freeze, it will just prevent the rest of the mixture from freezing solid – but I don’t think this would be a problem in terms of preservation. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it! :)

  9. Thank you. I just stumbled on this… I have concord grapes growing in my yard. They are just ripe now here in Oakland, so I got all the materials this morning. Almost ready to go!

  10. This sounds so yummy, I must try both your jam and the jelly type. I was desperately looking for someone to tell me that it is OK to freeze the jelly, and ran across your entry of the frozen jam. Enjoyed reading your entry, you make it pretty funny! Concord grapes are my favorite grapes!

  11. Thank you for this recipe, I’ve been making strawberry freezer jam my whole life but not any other kind . My mom-in-law grows Concord grapes & gave me ALOT ! So I starting searching the web for a freezer jam recipe & found yours! Wonderful! Sweet & tart! Just how I like it. Also much easier than the cooked recipe. :-)

  12. Will try this! Gave away 10 lbs from my vines and barely made a dent in the crop. I have 2 quarts of grapes on the counter ready to go tomorrow.

  13. Is the one and two thirds cup referring to the “guts” of the grapes without the skins? I made a batch that tastes wonderful but is not setting up well so I wanted to get a clear measurement. Thanks for a great use for my grapes!

  14. Thank you for the recipe and especially the pictures…they are a great visual to follow your recipe! My concord crop is the best i have ever had this year, and I can’t wait to get busy on the recipe and fill my freezer with jam.
    Thanks again for the easy step by step recipe..I’m sure the jam is sure to be a winner!

  15. Hi Karen! Yes, the 1 2/3 cups is the grape guts without the skins (the peeled grapes). :) My guess would be that any thickening (or lack thereof) would be affected by the pectin – maybe try a smidge more?

  16. I think it would work just fine with typical canning procedures. Freezing is just a way to get a slightly longer shelf life without the hassles of canning – but with canning, you’ll have an even better shelf life (and not have to keep your jam in the fridge/freezer!)

  17. I used muscadine grapes and it was divine! My last batch was a little short so I added some fresh figs. Incredible! Thanks for this recipe, it is exactly what I was looking for. Fresh grape taste, no canning.

  18. Figs sound like a delicious addition! I always intend to make fig jam every year, but I have yet to catch the season at just the right time (when I’ve got time!) :)

  19. The house we moved into a couple of years ago has grape vines all along the fence between us and the neighbors to the south. We let our neighbors have them the first year, and last year they didn’t produce much of anything. This year, however, they have gone crazy and taken over not only the fence, but my arch, and choked out the clematis. lol

    I picked somewhere around 6-8 quarts this weekend and used your recipe. I filled 12 pint jars! I hope they gel up properly because it tastes AMAZING! I can’t wait to share with friends. :) Next time I might strain the skins. I don’t mind tiny bits in my jam, but others are more picky.

    Thanks for posting!

  20. Scuppernongs instead of concords;
    honey instead of sugar;
    grassfed kosher beef gelatin instead of pectin. Tasty!

  21. The freezer concord grape jam and jelly was easy and every taste. Thank you so much. I’ll never buy jelly or jam again again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>