Do you find peanut butter and jelly sandwich scrumptious? I do. I like it typically for snacks, but I know some people who likes it for breakfast or at any time of the day. There are different types of jelly you can use to make PB&J sandwich and one of those is grape jelly.
Others simply want to buy jelly off-the-shelf but others like it fresh and homemade since it is very easy to prepare. You do not need many ingredients to prepare to make homemade jelly. Pectin, sugar, water, and your choice of grapes are the only ingredients you will need.
Those who prepares their own grape jelly at home often choose Concord grapes because they have thick skins, and they are naturally sweet which makes a good jelly. However, you are not limited to using Concord grapes only, any kinds of grapes would be better to make jelly. It will even be better if you can use freshly picked grapes to make jelly no matter what kind of grape it is.
You may choose to buy grapes from the grocery or harvest fresh grapes from a farm, but you will still need to know how to store them if cannot use it right away to make jelly. You need to keep them properly so it will remain fresh and best for jelly making.
So, can you keep grapes frozen before using them to make jelly? Certainly, you can. You can freeze grapes to preserve them until you can make grape jelly. Frozen grapes will still give you the best jelly.
Here is a complete guide on how to freeze grapes before making jelly, and also some other tips that we deemed helpful.
Frozen Grapes and Grape Jelly – A Guide
It is important to know the process of freezing grapes if you want to use them to make jelly. Keeping your grapes in the freezer is easy and the process is also simple. We have all the steps covered for you.
How to Freeze Grapes
Follow these simple steps on freezing grapes:
1. Wash grapes thoroughly by rinsing it a few times. Be sure to cut off the stems from each grape. Seedless grapes are recommended in jelly making because it will save your time from removing the seeds. Keep in mind that it is also best to choose fresh and firm grapes.
2. Take out the seeds of the grapes if you were not able to buy seedless grapes. It easy to pluck out the seeds if you cut the grapes in half. Plucking out seeds can be time consuming that is why it is recommended to use grapes which are seedless.
3. If you would like to sweeten the grapes while making the jelly, then you need not sweeten it before freezing. You also need not make molasses.
4. Pre-freezing grapes is also recommended to prevent the grapes from sticking together when frozen. Place each grape separately on a baking sheet or baking tray and keep it in your freezer for two hours. You may not do this process and simply put all the grapes in a container to freeze them all together.
5. After 2 hours, remove the baking tray or baking sheet from the freezer and take each frozen grape one by one and place them in a freezer bag or food container.
6. Label each package with date to remind you of its freezing period and keep it stored in the freezer till you need them.
If you followed these steps, you can be sure that the grapes will remain good until you want to make jelly.
Using Frozen Grapes for Jelly
Although you can buy fresh grapes and keep it frozen until you can make your jelly, you can opt to buy grapes from grocery stores which are already frozen. However, freezing grapes to make jelly at a later time is just an option, it is always best to use fresh grapes.
Whether you have chosen to use frozen or fresh grapes to make jelly, the preparation is most likely the same except that you have to thaw frozen grapes first before proceeding to the steps in jelly making.
Since we are here to help you with making jelly out of frozen grapes, here is the procedure.
- Take out the frozen grapes from your freezer.
- For quick thawing, place the grapes at room temperature for about thirty minutes to one hour depending on how frozen the grapes are. It will help to thaw it faster if you open the container or the freezer bag.
- If you want to make jelly the following day, you can take out the grapes from the freezer and just leave them inside the fridge and it will thaw overnight.
- It the grapes are thawed then you can now proceed with the steps in making grape jelly.
In case you wanted to can your grape jelly after cooking and you are quick-thawing the grapes, you can prepare what you need for canning like drying or heating the jar you will use to can your grape jelly while waiting thawing your grapes.
If you really like making jelly apart from grapes like blueberries and raspberries, you can also keep them in the freezer until it is time to make jelly.
Preparing Grape Jelly
Once you are good with the grapes’ freezing process, you can now start making your grape jelly and do whatever you like with it like can it for preservation or add it to your dish or sandwich.
- Here is the traditional recipe and steps for making jelly with grapes. You can always tweak the recipe to suit your taste. You can reduce sugar or add more to control the sweetness of the jelly you want to make.
- Prepare 1/4 cup of granulated sugars, 1/2 cup or 6 ounces of liquid pectin, and a big bowl where you can mix all the ingredients.
- Crush or mash the grapes using a sturdy ladle in a pot or durable bowl until you have your desired consistency. You can also use grape crusher if you have it at home.
- Mix the sugar and the liquid pectin in a separate bowl. Look at the pectin label to know the correct amount to be added in proportion to sugar. You may also refer to the pectin ratio guide.
- Pour the mixture onto the mashed grapes and keep stirring thoroughly.
- Add ample amount of water and boil it over a stovetop at high heat. Continuously stir it throughout cooking time to avoid grapes from lumping or from sticking at the bottom of the pot.
- You may add more sugar depending on how sweet you want your grape jelly to be. If you added more sugar, let it boil for another minute.
- Remove the foam over the jelly and turn off heat to let it cool.
After letting the jelly cool down, it will be ready to serve or if you plan to can the jelly, here is the canning procedure.
How To Can Grape Jelly
After cooking your grape jelly, allow it to completely cool before starting the canning process. It can take about 20 minutes or more to let it totally cool. While waiting for the jelly to cool you can prepare the jar you will use to can it.
Preheat the jar you will use for canning. Preheating the jar can be beneficial for two reasons, if you are putting in hot food inside the jar it will keep the jar from baking, and the other is to sterilize it.
After preheating the jar, you can now fill it with the grape jelly but be sure to leave ample space inside the jar. It is recommended to leave at least 1/4 space on top of canned food.
Water-bathing is also recommended after canning jelly. It is an important process that will keep canned foods preserved for more than its expected shelf-life.
If you follow through our simple steps from freezing to making your own jelly, then we hope that you find it easy to do. Although, you might find canning a bit tedious just think about the gratification of having grape jelly anytime you want.
You are actually not limited to making grape jelly, the same process can be applied to making raspberry or blueberry jelly.
For more related information here are a few questions and answers.
Are jelly and jam the same?
Jellies and jams are made following the same procedure except that jellies are made from pureed fresh fruits and you will not see any chunks unlike jams. Jams is made from mashed fruit and mostly have chunks of fruits in it.
How long can I keep grapes frozen?
Frozen grapes can be kept for about twelve months if they are vacuum sealed or in a close tight container.
How can I tell if I overcooked the jelly?
It is more likely that you will overcook the jelly if you have been cooking it for an extensive length of time. Once it has started boiling, you should keep stirring it and let it boil for approximately 15 minutes and increment the time of cooking to a minute or two if think the grapes are not yet well-cooked.