Concord Grape Jelly with Maple Syrup


This recipe almost made me throw in the towel.  I considered doing a status update that read, “I failed this week.  Check back next Tuesday”.  But I didn’t.  As I write this post, I’m still not actually sure I’ve succeeded at the challenge; the jelly is still cooling.

And I thought this one would be easy!

I grew up making jam and jelly with my Grandmother, after all.  So, when I was asked by a reader for a jam or jelly recipe without refined sugar, I said,  “No problem!” Little did I know….

The first problem was that I erroneously chose to make No-Cook Freezer Jam, to save a little time, which ultimately added hours of extra work to my task.  I’ve come to realize you can’t really call it jam or jelly if it hasn’t been cooked. I think the technical term for that is “Jell-O”.

Second, it took several days to locate the vegan Pomona’s Universal Pectin powder, that I usually place my faith in, so I made two attempts with gelatin, and one with liquid pectin, all total failures.

After first trying to make Strawberry Freezer Jam with Gelatin (AKA, “goop”),

then Concord Grape Jelly with Gelatin (straight-up grape Jell-O),

I turned to using liquid pectin.  I tried Blueberry Freezer Jam this time (and by this time was so frustrated, I hypocritically resorted to sugar, because that’s what the packet said it needed to work). It didn’t, and I ended up with something more akin to aloe gel with blueberries floating in it.

Finally, I got back in the car, and drove around town, to find my trusty Pomona’s.  Yay!

In an effort to not waste any more fruit, I settled again on Concord Grape Jelly using plain old grape juice. If it didn’t work this time, at least I’d only be out a couple glasses of juice.

I’m going to the kitchen now to check the results… Come back Friday for Allergy Friendly Friday, and next week, for the beginning installment of my Allergy-Free Easter and Passover recipes.

Ps, back from the kitchen, and the jelly finally worked! Success! Thank you, Pomona’s Pectin!


Concord Grape Jelly with Maple Syrup

Makes 2 8 oz Jars

Though I’d originally intended to create a jam or jelly recipe using agave nectar, I chose to use maple syrup instead, because I’ve been reading recently that one shouldn’t boil agave nectar. Apparently it changes the structure in a bad way. If you choose to use agave nectar anyway, it will work, and that’s your prerogative.  You could also use honey, but bare in mind that honey has a very strong flavor, even mild honey, and it’s preferable for the Concord Grape flavor to be predominant. Additionally, you could use berry juice for this jelly with equally yummy results. This jelly is delicious on toast, or served with roast turkey! It’s a real New England treat.

1. Wash jam jars, and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse well.  Set in pot, and pour boiling water over them.  Let jars sit in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before using.

2. Make calcium water, by combining ½ teaspoon calcium powder (part of the Pomona’s packet) with ½ cup water in a jar.  Cover with lid and shake well to combine.

3. Combine Concord Grape juice with 2 teaspoons calcium water in a saucepan.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

4. Meanwhile, combine maple syrup with 2 teaspoons of the pectin powder (also part of Pomona’s packet), stirring well to combine.

5. Once juice mixture has come to a boil, add maple syrup mixture and stir vigorously to dissolve all the pectin. Bring to a rapid boil, and then remove from heat.  Pour into jars, leaving a ¼-inch space at the top of each. Tightly screw on lids. Place jars in a pot in boiling water, up to the rim.  Boil 10 minutes. Remove from pot, and let cool.  Check seals, once jelly has cooled. Lids should be sucked down. It takes several hours for the jelly to set.  Store jelly in cool dark place.   Jelly lasts about 3 weeks once opened.


Concord Grape Jelly with Maple Syrup
© 2010 by Cybele Pascal

For more Jam and Jelly Recipes you might like, check out:

♥ Roxana Jullapat’s Strawberry Jam with Orange Blossoms at KCRW’s Good Food

♥ Jelly Doughnut Muffins at Gluten Free Gigi

♥ Shortbread Cookies with Raspberry Jam Glaze at Silvana’s Kitchen

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

10 Responses

  1. Sandra says:

    Kudos to you for hanging in there!

  2. Cybele says:

    Thanks, Sandra! The end result is yummy, so all worth it, I suppose.

  3. sarah lambert says:

    I would have to say I would have threw the towel in. But you proven that practice makes perfect. Koodos on ur efforts and finally suceeding.

  4. Robin says:

    a couple months ago, I tried to make strawberry jam with agave. The result was more of a yummy sauce or topping for ice cream. My husband ate it anyway, it tasted good, I had never heard not to boil the agave. I will definitely try this recipe, the grape jelly looks good! My husband love PB and J sandwiches. thanks for the recipe! and the inspiration.

  5. Mo'Betta says:

    I’m so excited to have found your website!! I have oogled the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook, and it’s on my “wish list”, but didn’t realize you kept a blog!! My son is allergic to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts (I’m allergic to peanuts as well), so baking is definitely a challenge! I am on the search for an egg free cupcake for his preschool Easter party when I came across your site. I will be checking in frequently 🙂

  6. […] Concord Grape Jelly with Maple Syrup | Cybele Pascal Allergen-Free … […]

  7. Cybele says:

    Thanks Sarah! I was very close to throwing that towel, believe me!

  8. Cybele says:

    Hi Robin:

    What did you use to congeal the strawberry jam? I’m not sure if that is true about the agave or not, but I decided to air on the side of caution. Hope you and your husband enjoy this jelly!


  9. Cybele says:

    Dear Mo’Betta:

    So happy you found the site! There are many delicious cupcake recipes in the Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook! You could check it out at the library and make one of them for your son’s Easter party.

    I hope you enjoy the recipes here and also in my cookbook!

    Kindest regards,


  10. Priscilla says:

    Hi Cybele,
    What brand of maple syrup do you use? My son is allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, and some treenuts; my other son is allergic to wheat, dairy and yeast.
    Also, about the agave nectar… Does that mean we shouldn’t bake with it either?
    We love your recipes, the Allergen-free Bakers Handbook is one of my favorites. Thanks!

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