Did you know you can make your own jelly? Just your basic, average, run of the mill grape jelly. I just figured this out about a year or so ago.
As you know I’m a big fan of Kristen at The Frugal Girl. As I was perusing through her blog I saw a post about making homemade grape jelly. Given how much PB&J my kids eat (well, okay, how much Maddie eats — she wants it every day, not that I blame her) we go through some jelly.
And you also know how I like to try to keep artificial ingredients out of my kids diets where I can, and I also try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, especially when it’s one of the main ingredients in a product. Not that I’m saying sugar is healthy, but when I have to choose between the two, I’ll always choose sugar.
So I gave it a shot. And guess what? I turned out great. So I’d like to share it with you.
What equipment do you need? A pot, a whisk, and two empty glass jars. I just use old jelly jars. Just run them through the dishwasher before using them. I also use a funnel to get the hot jelly in the jar without spilling, but it’s not a necessity.
What else do you need? Grape juice, sugar, and pectin. Yep, that’s it. Pectin can be found in any grocery store near where they keep the canning supplies. It’s in the paper goods/cereal aisle at Price Chopper. Get the kind for regular jelly, not the kind for less sugar/sugar-free jelly.
So start out by measuring out 3 cups of grape juice and pouring it into your pot. Dump in one packet of pectin. Bring to a boil, whisking to incorporate evenly.
Once boiling, add 4 cups of sugar. Then pick yourself back up off the floor and keep reading. Yes, I said 4 cups of sugar. But how much do you want to bet that much or more goes into the store bought stuff?
Bring the mixture back up to a full rolling boil, so that if you try to “stir it down”, it won’t. Boil this way for one full minute.
Remove from the heat and pour into jars.
Screw the lids on, and let cool on the counter for a few hours.
Then you can transfer them to the fridge. It may take a while to jell (like 4 hours or more) so don’t worry when it seems like you just have super-sweet grape juice at first.
I’ve made this several times and even after opening a jar it will last for weeks and weeks in our fridge without going bad. I’ve even found that if you use old jelly jars the heat from the jelly will reseal the jar so that the unopened one could be stored on a shelf.
And that’s it! Super easy and yummy too.
Now is it more cost efficient? I think this might actually be a case where the homemade way is more expensive, kind of like Homemade Mac & Cheese. If you get the juice for $3 and use about 1/2, that’s $1.50. Pectin is $2.50, and the sugar is probably about $.50 (say 1/4 of a 4 lb bag which you can get for about $2 on sale). So about $4.50 for 1 1/2 jars of jelly. But I know what’s in it, it tastes good, and the kids get a kick out of seeing me make it. I don’t let them make it themselves yet since 4 and 2 year olds and boiling juice just don’t mix.
Have you ever made homemade jelly? What’s your favorite store brand? Does the homemade version live up to the store brand?
P.S. What do you think of the new format? Too busy? Should I go back to the old one? Or do you like it?