Simple Muscadine Jelly Recipe
I moved to Georgia this past weekend and am currently staying at my family’s farm house in a small town outside of Athens. My dad has an overabundance of muscadines growing in the backyard and asked me if I could find something to do with them. If you haven’t heard of muscadines before, they are a grapevine native to the southeastern United States. They’re super delicious and grow in abundance in the South. I was so excited yesterday to begin my first experiment with cooking with muscadines, and it actually turned out pretty tasty. Here’s my simple homemade muscadine jelly how-to:
8 half pint mason jars
5 cups muscadine juice (I pressed a few batches of muscadines until I reached 5 cups, and I’d estimate it’s about 4 gallons of muscadines)
6 cups sugar
1/3 cup pectin
I was a bit intimidated by sterilizing jars; something about boiling hot water, hot sugary liquid, and glass make me nervous. So I googled an alternative sterilization method and found you can sterilize your jars by heating them in the oven. The proper way is obviously to boil them, and if you’re brave enough, go for it! If you’re a wimp like me, heat the jars in the oven at 225 Fahrenheit for at least 15 minutes and leave them in there until you are filling them with your jelly. They will be pretty hot so use a dish towel to handle them when filling.
Now it’s time to juice the muscadines. I didn’t have a large pot so I heated a few smaller pots filled with muscadines on the stove top and basically just squished them with the potato masher to get the juice out. I squished them for a good ten minutes until the liquid turned a beautiful plum color.
After you’ve squished the muscadines, pour them into a strainer to strain out the skins, seeds, and bits. What you’ll be left with is a gorgeous, tangy, purple liquid of the Gods 😉 I tossed the leftover mush into my compost tumbler.
Now, put the juice back on the stove top to reheat. Add the pectin and bring it to a boil for a couple of minutes. You want to dissolve all of the pectin in the juice and then add the sugar. Be sure to continuously stir the liquid so it doesn’t burn. I let it boil for a couple of minutes. If it doesn’t seem to be “jelling” you can add a bit more pectin. My jelly turned out not as jelly-ish as I would have like so I think next time I might add a little more pectin. It’s all a matter of preference though really.
Lastly, it’s time to fill the jars. They should still be in the oven staying warm so be careful with the hot glass when you take them out. Fill each jar with the jelly, but leave a small amount of space at the top of each jar. Wipe off any excess dripping liquid on the rim of the jars and put the lids on. All that’s left is letting the jars of jelly cool and then enjoy! You should refrigerate the jelly and use it within three months.