Muscat Grapes Make Great Wine (and Jelly too)

This year our Muscat grapes had a job ripening – but they sure made fabulous jelly, brilliant rich ruby red with a real Muscat flavour. There’s still some around in the shops – buy some and brew up your own. Yummy on buttered toast or stirred into a wine sauce, to go with game.

MUSCAT GRAPE JELLY

Makes about 6x450g jars
1.5kg grapes, preferably black Muscat
about 1.5 litres water
preserving sugar with added pectin (essential for a good set)

  • Sort through grapes, discard any bad ones, remove stalks and place grapes in a preserving pan
  • Barely cover the grapes with water –  the amount you add will depend on the size and shape of the pan, but the plump black tops of some of the grapes should be just keeping their heads above water
  • Bring to the boil, simmer gently for about 20 minutes from boiling point, until the grapes are soft
  • Pull the pan off the heat
  • Line a large colander with a J-cloth or muslin and set it over a large bowl
  • Carefully tip the cooked fruit into the colander
  • Cover the colander with a teatowel to protect against fruit flies and leave for 12 hours or overnight until all the juice has run through – press the grapes down a bit at the end using a potato masher to make sure you’ve got all the juice
  • Measure the juice – for every litre you need just under a kilo of preserving sugar [for 1.2 litres juice, I used 1 kg preserving sugar]
  • Wash jars and give them a spell in an 80 C oven to dry/sterilize them while you get on with the jelly
  • Pour the juice back into the preserving pan, add sugar, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so all sugar is dissolved and you can no longer hear/see crunchy crystals
  • Then raise the heat and bring to a galloping boil – count 5-7 minutes at this fast boil before testing for setting: put a saucer in the freezer to get thoroughly cold, then when you’re ready to start testing, remove saucer, drop in a teaspoon of juice/jelly – on contact with the cold saucer it should stop in its tracks, hold its shape and not run about in an unruly manner – run your finger through it and a definite channel should form and stay formed
  • If setting point is not yet reached, rinse saucer and return to the freezer, repeating the process until it is
  • When setting point is reached, pour jelly into warm sterilised jars
  • Cover immediately with plastic lined screw top lids
  • Label when cold and store in a cool, dark, dry place

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