Space Jam!


Then again, maybe not. Just trying to get your attention by using the name of a recent movie. However this is a post about making grape jam....

Then again, maybe not. Just trying to get your attention by using the name of a recent movie. However this is a post about making grape jam. 

Many of us grew up with grape jelly, not jam. 

On the rare occasion my family stopped to eat breakfast at a diner, I remembered the excitement of the jam lottery. What type of jam or jelly would you get with your toast? The waitress would reach down into her apron and throw onto the table a small container of either strawberry jam, grape jelly, or some mystery berry (not sure what that was!). I felt lucky if I got strawberry, and sometimes I would hit the jackpot if she dropped two packets on my plate. One package was barely enough to change the color of your toast, but two, I could make a delightful puddle of jam on the bread. I lost the lottery if I got grape jelly. Not a fan.

But here I am with a large abundance of grapes. 

I have pounds of raisins, so I thought I would try making grape jam this week.

I found several recipes for grape jam online. Some recipes involved a food mill, but no mill here! Other recipes called for pounds of sugar. Nope. What I did come up with leaned heavily on a recipe by Camilla Hawkins, but without the two pounds of sugar she suggested.

I cleaned and removed the stems of about 2 lbs of Thompson Seedless (not really seedless) grapes from the backyard.

Then slowly cooked the grapes with:

  • 2/3 cups of water
  • 2/3 cups plus heaping tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of lime juice


After twenty minutes, the grapes were soft. I used a potato masher to break them up. After the mashing was done, I used a stick blender to finish breaking the grapes.

I added 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of pectin and started boiling the mixture down.

You'll note there are still seeds in the mix. I guess this was one of the attractions of Camilla's recipe which totally ignored seeds. It does make the end product a "preserve," not a "jam." The difference between the two? A jam contains just the fruit pulp, the preserves contains fruit chunks. Thompson Seedless are not really without seeds. They are just smaller, softer versions of their seedy cousins. When you eat a raisin, there are seeds hiding inside.

After 20 minutes of vigorous boiling, the temperature of the mixture approached 217 degrees. At that temperature the pectin forms a mesh which traps liquids, helping your mixture to jell as it cools.

I poured the hot mixture into two sterilized mason jars.

I had set the scale to zero with the weight of an empty jar. 

Then weighed one of my two jars filled with preserves:

So my two pounds of grapes made one pound of jam/preserves.

The next day the jam was ready for the taste test.

The jam set really well and had a slightly tart taste. Maybe a tad more sugar, or less lime juice on the next try and it will be perfect. It was a very easy recipe to make and will get another visit.


  1. That's a nice cooking adventure. Maybe we'll have enough grapes someday...



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At Home and Away: Space Jam!
Space Jam!
At Home and Away
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