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 packet Pomona’s Universal Pectin
- 2 cups 100% Concord Grape juice, no sugar-added
- ¼ cup cold maple syrup
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:
(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 Amazon.com. 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.