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7 Things to Remember when making Grape Jam

August 12, 2010

Making Grape Jam,

yesterday, was a wonderful new experience.  We were blessed with several quarts of grapes on our vines, and like usual, when they become ripe, they ALL become ripe.  And the folk around here were resistant to eating several quarts of grapes, all at once.

Consult the Ball Blue Book of Canning

Well, you have probably heard me recommend this before, and that is what I did yesterday. We decided on jam as the best way to preserve our harvest.  Following are some of the lessons we learned…

  1. If insects are buzzing around the clusters of grapes when you are harvesting, be very careful what you grab ahold of.
  2. Bring enough containers with you to contain the entire crop
  3. Do the initial wash of produce outside
  4. Be generous in your estimation of time required
  5. Choose your work area wisely
  6. Study the directions (read and re-read several times)
  7. Use a long-handled spoon to stir the thickening jam

Careful what you grab-When I initially began picking the grapes I grabbed a bunch of grapes and cut the stem with my pocket knife, then placed the bunch in a bowl.  On one of the vines, one with tight clusters of very tiny grapes, the insects were buzzing all around in feast mode. I grabbed a bunch and ZING!!! one of the insects turrned out to be a BEE that was not happy being held in my hand. The bee stung me on the hand.

Bring enough containers-I wasted a lot of time and energy walking back and forth to get more containers. By assessing the crop more clearly I could have saved considerably.

Wash outside– Jeez- there were bugs on those grapes! Get the majority of them off in the great outdoors!

Time estimation – New processes will generally take longer as you noodle your way through them. Plan accordingly.

Work area – We did this project in the kitchen. The boiling down of the jam with the hot water bath canner simmering generated A LOT OF HEAT, which was not very pleasant. We should have referred to our own blog where we processed beans outdoors, and applied the lessons learned there.  Choose wisely!

Read the directions – Garsh, is this really a necessary “Lesson Learned”??? Well, heck yeah! By spending a few extra minutes reading, re-reading and visualizing the process, you can save time, energy and maybe prevent a couple of *ouchies*.

Long handled spoon – As the jam thickens, it splatters.  With the sugar content the splatters are also very clingy. So when the jam hits your hand or arm, it sticks and stays there, and even though the splatters are very tasty when one licks them from one’s arm, they still hurt.  So do your taste-testing from a spatula or a spoon. A loooong spoon!

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