Concord Grape Jam

This is like the Angelina Jolie of jam.

If these grapes were people they would wear cat eye makeup and high heels even when they were just hanging around the kitchen on a lazy Saturday morning.

The flavor is incredible: rich, earthy, sweet and musky.  It is complex and bold in ways that a strawberry can only dream about.

A piece of fruit like that doesn’t just leave the house wearing sweatpants.

(What does this metaphor even mean?)

What it means: I put a cup of really good pinot noir in this jam. I know, it’s kind of tragic not to drink the cup of really good pinot noir. There’s still almost a whole bottle though, so it’s fine, and the wine only enhances that beautiful richness that you find in these grapes.

Sure, you can put this jam on your toast.  You could also pair it almost the same way you’d pair pinot noir, though. The flavors go beautifully with roast beef or lamb, black pepper and arugula. It will be delicious with goat cheese or brie. There’s lots of room for creativity here, no need to stick within the confines of a peanut butter sandwich.Concord Grape Jam 

makes: about 7 half pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 9 c. stemmed seedless* Concord grapes (if you have a few green ones, in the bunch, throw them in too to help add natural pectin)
  • 6 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. high quality pinot noir

Bring boiling water canner to a boil. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Sterilize them if you are OCD like me, but you don’t really need to. 

In a large nonreactive pot, combine the grapes and the pinot and cook on medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the skins on the grapes have all burst. Add six cups of sugar and cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer (or whatever gel test you prefer).

Pour hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Process for 10 minutes.

*I was super, super lucky to find actual seedless concord grapes at the farmers market. Varieties do exist! If you can’t find them, you need to do the much more labor intensive version of this recipe. For seeded concord grapes you have to remove the grape skins (pinch the grape between your thumb and forefinger and the skin will slip right off) and cook them in one pot with the red wine until they’re tender. Then put the grape pulp through a fine-meshed sieve to remove all of the seeds. Combine the (now seedless) pulp and cooked grape skins in a large, nonreactive pot and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

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14 responses to “Concord Grape Jam

  1. I’ve never had grape jam before, will have to try this when I can get hold of some nice grapes!

  2. Is it possible to make this jam without pre-cooking the grapes and extracting the seeds through a sieve? Would halving them and scraping seeds be enough to make the recipe work? I live in Italy where Pinot Noir and grapes would go over QUITE well with some of my vino loving friends :)

    • Dominique- however you get the seeds out is really fine, but I actually think that either method will probably take about the same time. The skins slip off really really easily and might go faster than cutting all of the grapes in half. You should use your best judgement since there are several varietals of concord grapes- some of them have very thick skins that will need some extra cooking time (just like making marmalade, where you need to cook the orange rinds longer to make sure they’re not tough). Other varieties, like the one that i found, have very thin skins and no seeds and you can just throw all the grapes in the pot, skin on and everything. If you’re experimenting, just remember to turn off the heat under the jam for a minute and taste a bite to see if it’s cooked nicely. And how LOVELY that you live in italy! we are jealous :)

      • Thank you for the tip! I am experimenting with Drunk Jams and this was posted in the middle of my recipe round up :). I am excited to try this as I am sure I will have ladies BEGGING me for jars of it. I hold canning classes for the local civilian, DOD, NATO and Military community out here in Naples, Italy and it has been a wonderful experience!

  3. Julia Child always said she wouldn’t cook with a wine that she wouldn’t drink. (At least I THINK it was Julia. I attribute all my favorite cooking quotes to Julia, frankly.)

  4. This sounds fabulous-something else to go over my vanilla ice cream-yum.
    How do I get some? Are you at the Redwood Valley farmers market only now? Miss your eggs!

    • karen, i should have some either this week or the next… gotta make a big batch up at the kitchen and not just at home

  5. I saw a green variety of concord grapes at our farmer’s market last week, and made a mental note to look for a recipe (which I forgot about until I stumbled upon your site: a sign?) Do you know if I can use green ones? I mean, of course I could, but I’m thinking “no” on the pinot noir?

    • i think green will work but I don’t want to say 100% for sure… I’ve just never made jam with no added pectin using that specific type of fruit, so I don’t to promise. BUT, if you do give it a try, I would use a crisp pinot grigio or a dry rosé instead of the pinot noir.

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  9. When do you add the lemon juice?

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