Monday, September 2, 2013

Concord Grape Jam from Put 'em Up! Fruit for FSC Book Club

Put 'em Up! was one of the first preserving books I found on the local library shelves, and it quickly became a trusted favorite. So when author/canner extraordinaire Sherri Brooks Vinton came out with her second cookbook, Put 'em Up! Fruit, I immediately got myself a copy.

Then I spotted a fellow food swap group, From Scratch Club (from the Capital Region of New York), hosting just my kind of book club: The No-Stress Virtual Cook-Along Book Club! I've been keeping an eye on the activity—primarily via the Goodreads group—but this week {Meeting 5: Grapes, Grapefruit & Quince} was the first time I've been able to make something, and post about it. My Meyer Lemon Gastrique from {Meeting 4: Blueberries, Apricots & Lemons} made it to the last food swap, though I never posted on it.

Last year I counted myself super lucky to score some concord grape concentrate a friend had made from their backyard harvest. The resulting concord grape jelly became the go-to jam in my larder for PBJ's.

So, I didn't hesitate to purchase when I spotted some local concord grapes at a nearby market recently. Since the fruit in my fridge lined right up with the book club chapter, I set my mind on the Concord Grape Jam on p. 141.

This jam took me about 4 days to finish. Seriously. Though prepping the fruit and cooking it took no time at all, I knew I wanted to get it into the canner, and kept running out of time. So it ended up macerating in the fridge a solid 3 days, before I canned it up. I confess, one PBJ was eaten in the interim.

Concord grapes measure up

Squeezing the grape pulp out is fun

Grape innards

Jam hitting its boil

If you have never tasted homemade concord grape jam or jelly, you are missing out. The Smucker's of your childhood just doesn't measure up. Doesn't compare! Doesn't hold a candle to the real stuff! Truly.

Grape jam/jelly you make yourself shines. It has deep purple grape-y essence, but with built-in flavor layers and explosions. It's like a meteor shower of sweetness. It is the M-80 of the jam world. It's a knockout.

Bonus points: my grape jam jars have grapes on them!

One of the great features in Put 'em Up! Fruit is the 'Use it up!' meal recipe accompanying each preserving recipe. No jars full of dregs and last bits of whatever here! So, I am looking forward to putting this jam to savory use in Butter-Basted Steak with Grape Reduction down the line.

If any makes it that far, that is.

Warning: you may be tempted to eat this by the spoonful

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