One of the heirloom Concord grapevines at the farm.
At the farm, several heirloom Concord grape vines cling to trees, bushes, or field vegetation. There are three vines in particular that are fully mature & yield a tremendous bounty of grapes. So, early on in life at the farm I had to figure out what to do with the grapes, as I didn’t want them to go to waste.
When the grapes ripen, the turn a gorgeous shade of purple.
Luckily, my extended family member Jodi had started a blog called “Homemade & Wholesome,” where she posted recipes with clever personal recollections or stories behind their meaning. On one day, she posted a recipe for Concord grape jelly, & I jumped at the chance to try it.
This yield came from one heirloom vine, & represents only about half of the clusters picked.
Yet, I felt intimidated by the thought of canning, since I’d never done it. My grandmother (my mother’s mother) was very resourceful and skilled in the ways of homesteading. Her farm was Lakeview Farm, & she would pickle, can, cure, smoke, & make butter and cheese. She hunted & fished with Grampy Haven, sewed clothes & coats, darned & knitted, & even hooked rugs from wool she dyed.
My grandmother & her three daughters, with my mother on the far left.
My mother raised me to be resourceful, too. Both of my parents made sure I did all kinds of chores that actually equipped me with valuable house maintenance skills. Everything from painting exteriors & clearing lots of brush to refinishing hardwood floors, stripping wallpaper, and patching walls. My mother is an expert at crocheting, but I’ve never had the dexterity for it.
One thing I know is that you’ll never REALLY know the flavor of Concord grape jelly unless you’ve tried it made from scratch. There’s this zip, this tart tang to it that gives that rich grape flavor such depth. Unbelievable.
The only drawback is that it takes 2 days to make, as you need to first make the juice, let it set overnight, & strain the tartrate crystals out, as those hard bits ruin the texture of the jelly. But the overall taste is more than worth it!
Jars of the tastiest grape jelly I’ve ever had.