Friday, September 11, 2015

"We Be jaMMin! Muscadines at their prime and apple pie filling jam...

I've longed to can something - anything, for years now and like the cowardly lion, never mustered up the courage to do so.
      I guess I thought it to be beyond the scope of my capabilities and if at 50, I had not already mastered the art, why jump in?

Then my husband bursts through the back door, grabs me by the hand and says "you have to see this!"

Turns out the black walnut tree out back had a hitch-hiker that we'd not noticed until he pulled into the driveway from the opposite direction than he usually does...

These were purple and not green like the ones on the little bush that he and our kids would eat from every year further down the drive.  They were bursting at the peak of ripeness and for one vine, the abundance was impressive.  Wild Muscadines, who could resist?
   Pluck we did and ended up with two full quarts.
He sighed that it would be a shame not to do something wonderful with them only to watch half go to waste by aging in a bowl.

Thus I was thrust into the world of canning.
Thank you Google.
Hmmm, Muscadines, 2 quarts...

sugar,  (5 cups) recipe called for 6 but we wanted to taste the fruit too...

canning jars, lids and rings

And a water bath canner & strainer

Not so intimidating after all, soo we squeezed each grape's innards into one pan and the skins into another...    One by one, took a while - VERY arduous task.

(that isn't water in with the innards, that is all juice!)

After this was completed (whew)  we put enough water in with the skins to almost cover them but not quite.   And boiled the contents of each pan, the innards for about 15 minutes (at which time we cooled it a little and completely strained out all of the pulp and liquid leaving only the seeds behind.  See the bowl with the spatula?  No seeds ;)

 While doing that, the skins cooked on for a total of about 20 to 25 minutes.

My husband stirring vigilantly...

 When tender they were cooled a bit as well and put into a blender on puree for a few pulses.

Then we combined contents of both pots together along with the sugar and cooked down to a nice thicker consistency.
  All that lovely stuff (no picture, sorry - we wanted to get it right into the jars ;)
 went into the waiting jars to about a 1/4" from the top full.
Lids went on clean rims and then the rings (not too tight)

Into simmering water bath which was then brought to a boil, covered and left to boil for at least 10 minutes.

When the timer went off, the jars were lifted out of their bath and they were set to rest on wire cooling (cookie) racks.

All that was left to do (at about one in the morning) - were the sticky pots and utensils

And the next day?

We had the most divine toast with our coffee!

That was quite a night!
Credit:  To learn how to even begin to can Muscadine Jam, we searched You Tube and found a great two part video with excellent step by step instructions here:

So I've since made the jam you see in the top picture (and the one just below) which is an apple pie filling jam and I myself love it HOT!  This would be awesome on pancakes, ice cream, oatmeal...
Doing the Homer drool...