Concord Grape Ginger Jam

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The thought of holing up in the house all day on a Sunday to make jam sounds very Little House on the Prairie, I know. And yet, the act of saving a super ripe bundle of fruit by turning it into something you can keep for much longer is as satisfying as climbing between the sheets of your own bed at the end of a long day. Making jam takes time, which is probably why most of us don’t do it more often (me included). But once you’ve got the fruit in a pot over the flame, there’s time to walk away and do other things, so long as you return to stir now and then. Also, jam is incredibly forgiving, much like soup. This jam is not so sweet, but it tastes clean and honest and as good as I want it to, anyway.  The grape skins split as they’re heated, like tomatoes. The soft, fleshy underbellies pop with the help of a wooden spoon, releasing the “free run”–which is grape speak for the thirst-quenching, sweet sour nectar that makes the fruit so damn irresistible.

A few notes:
*If you like jam that’s very sweet, you might want to use sugar instead of honey.
*You could opt not to strain the juice from the skins for more of an unevenly textured jam. Just be sure to seed the grapes right after you wash them.
*If you’re looking for advice on how to sterilize jars, read here. It isn’t hard, just a bit time consuming. Since I knew I’d be finishing my batch within a few weeks, I skipped sterilizing this time and stuck the jars straight in the fridge.

Concord Grape Ginger Jam adapted from this recipe and this recipe
5 cups concord grapes, washed well
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of minced, peeled ginger root

Over medium heat, simmer grapes with ginger for about 30 minutes. Every so often, stir and gently pop the grapes with a wooden spoon or whatever tool you’re using. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a mesh strainer and press as much juice and pulp through as possible. Discard the seeds, skins, and ginger, then pour the strained liquid back into the pot. Add honey and lemon juice. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by half.