Here in the south, we have several native fruits, but Muscadines are my family’s favorite. These are wild grapes and they can be found growing along the side of the road and in wooded areas. Muscadines are now being cultivated for backyard garden areas. There are several varieties that have been cultivated and they grow best in zones 7-9 if you’re wondering. But there is something special about tromping to the edge of a wooded area and picking Muscadines that were planted there naturally. Muscadine Jelly is our favorite way to enjoy this little fruit year round. There are two types of these delectable grapes – Muscadines which are a deep purple to almost black colored. When juiced you get a beautiful purple juice. Then there are Scuppernongs which are more of a bronze-green color and gives a beautiful white juice. Just like red and white grapes you buy in the store, Muscadines and Scuppernongs taste pretty much the same.
When eating Muscadines, you don’t eat the skins. Just bite a small hole and suck out the pulp, being careful to not chew too hard because there are seeds. When I was a little girl, I was taught to roll the pulp around in my mouth and then swallow it whole; it’s something I still do.
Since Muscadines are in the grape family they are BAD for your dogs to eat. (Just throwing it out there)
Jelly making is an easy and quick process if you use store-bought pectin. I use Sure-Jell in all of my jellies with no problems. If you have a juicer – use it! It will make the first step a lot easier. If not, don’t worry, you can still make the jelly without any problems, but you will need a jelly bag, cheesecloth, or another method to strain off the juice. I highly recommend the jelly bag because it is a lot easier to use than squeezing the juice through the cheesecloth.
When you use the juicer, don’t throw out the pulp remains because you can use them for a batch of juice. Just cover the pulp with enough water to cover it and simmer for about 15 minutes.
My most favorite way to eat muscadine jelly is on hot buttered biscuits. Aren't those biscuits pretty? That pan was made just for this recipe and another's pictures.
Over the years of making jelly, I’ve made a few changes in preparing everything. Instead of trying to prepare the juice and the jars at the same time, I started sterilizing the jars first. Boiling them in water and then turning them upside down on a clean sheet pan in a warm oven so the jars will stay hot. This also keeps everything from piling up around the stove.
Another change I’ve made is placing the jelly jars upside down to seal after filling them. Because I have found a couple of jars of jelly to be weepy with leaving them upside down, when I’m giving jelly as gifts, I water bath those jars. I don’t know if those jars were flukes, but I want a gelled jelly for others.
If you find that you don't have enough juice for the 5 cups, you can add add up to 1/2 cup of water to get the exact amount of juice needed.
Muscadine Jelly Recipe
- 3 1/2 pound of grapes or 5 cups of prepared juice
- 7 cups sugar
- 1 box Sure Jell
- ½ teaspoon butter
- Wash and sterilize jars. Don’t forget the jars will need to be boiled. Wash lids and bands and place them in warm water.
- Measure out 7 cups of sugar and set aside.
If you have a juicer skip down to the step where you add the pectin to the juice.
- To prepare the juice: wash and pull off the stems. Place in a large pot and crush the grapes and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the contents of the pot through a jelly bag or cheesecloth. Allow the juice to drain.
- When all the juice has been strained for any pulp or seeds, measure the exact amount of juice into a 6 - 8 quart pot. (Be sure your pot is large enough to handle the boiling liquid.)
- Stir in 1 box of pectin into the juice. Add ½ teaspoon butter to reduce foaming. Bring juice to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
- Stir in sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
- Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within ¼ inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lid and band onto the jar and tighten. Turn jars upside down on a towel to cool.
When using the water bath method:
- Fill canner or a deep pot with water and heat until almost boiling.
- Place sealed jars into canner and cover with water by about 2 inches. If needed add boiling water to cover jars. Bring to a gentle boil and process for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove from water and set on a towel for 24 hours to cool. Listen for the popping of the lid. If a lid does not pop when lightly touched, refrigerate the jar.
And there you have it! Easy muscadine jelly. When making other flavored jelly, you pretty much do the same thing. The Sure-Jell link has many different recipes to follow. Once you try your first batch of jelly, you'll be wondering what took so long for you to try it.