Grape Apple Jelly
Credit: Aupoet

This grape apple jelly recipe is sure to become one of your favorite jelly recipes. It is a great way to empty those full apple baskets and stock the pantry shelves with jelly jars filled with a delicious fruit jelly. This is an easy jelly recipe, making it a good way to learn how to make jelly if you have never made it before. Jelly is made using fruit juices and for this jelly recipe, the juice is cooked out of both the grapes and the apples, not squeezed. The apple pulp that is left over can be used to make a fruit butter. My apple butter recipe and the details for extracting the apple juice and grape juice are covered in my other article (Making fruit butter-Apple butter).

Store bought grapes can be used for this grape apple jelly though I prefer wild grapes for their flavor and higher pectin content. If you can't find wild grapes use a dark, stronger flavored grape such as concord. The apples need to be a sweet variety such as Rome, Gala, Fugi, or Red delicious. Starting from scratch, this jelly recipe will be a two day affair, but once the apple juice and grape juice have been made, they can be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen to make jelly later.

The kitchen supplies needed for making jelly are the same ones needed for canning vegetables and include: A jelly bag or about 1 1/2 yards of cheesecloth, an 8 to 10 quart stainless steel pot, a pot large enough to hold the jelly jars so they are covered with at least a 1/2 inch of water, a small pot to boil the jar rings and lids in, pint sized canning jars, rings, lids, hot jar lifter, a wide mouth funnel, a large slotted spoon, a large metal stirring spoon, a ladle, a colander for draining juices, and a magnetic jar lid lifter.

Ingredients needed for the grape apple recipe include: 8 quarts of grapes, 6 quarts of apples, white sugar, lemon juice, and 1 or 2 packets of liquid pectin. This jelly recipe calls for 6 cups of grape/apple juice, 7 1/2 cups of sugar, and 2 Tbs. of lemon juice, which will make 3 pints of jelly. The recipe should not be doubled as it will jell better if cooked in separate batches.

To extract the juices first wash the fruits and remove any stems. Place the grapes in jelly bags or line the large pot with a double layer of cheese cloth and place the grapes on top of it. The cloth needs to go up and over the sides of the pot so it can be drawn together to make a bag for holding the grapes later. Put enough water in the pot to barely cover the grapes and bring them to a boil. Turn down the heat and let the grapes simmer for around 30 minutes until they split open releasing their juice. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly so they can be handled safely. Put the colander over the other large pot and then carefully gather the edges of the cheesecloth together forming a bag with the grape pulp inside. Twist the bag top closed and tie it with a string or twist tie then lift it from the pot letting the grape juice run out into the pot. Don't squeeze the bag just place it in the colander and let the juice finish draining. If the grapes are squeezed the grape apple jelly will be cloudy. Once the bag has stopped dripping pour all the juice into the pot but don't throw the grape pulp out yet just set it aside still in the bag. The grape juice can be cooled and placed in the fridge while you make the apple juice.

Do not peel the apples, simply slice them into quarters removing the seeds and cores. Place the apple pieces in the large pot along with the bag of grape pulp, and barely cover them with water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let them simmer for around 30 minutes. Remove the grape pulp and let it drain as before without squeezing. Use a slotted spoon to remove the apple parts, saving them, and then pour the juice through a sieve to remove all the small pieces. The cooked apples can be used to make apple butter as described in my other article (Making fruit butter - Apple butter). Add the apple juice to the grape juice and refridgerate or freeze until you are ready to make the jelly.

Here is how to make jelly. Prepare the area by placing the clean pint jars in the large pot that will be used for the water bath, cover them with water and bring to a boil to sterilize the jars. Place the rings and lids in the small pot, cover with water and boil them. Place a clean kitchen towel near the cooking area to place the hot jars on later. Place one small plate or saucer near the cooking area for placing the skimmings on, and place another one in the fridge to get it cold.

While the jars are getting hot, place 6 cups of the grape/apple juice in a 4 quart pot and bring to a boil. Add the 2 Tbs. of lemon juice and one packet of pectin then bring to a boil again. Add 7 1/2 cups of sugar and stir till the the sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil that can not be stirred down and boil for one minute. It has to be stirred constantly to keep it from boiling over. It is important to use a large enough pot so the mixture has enough room to boil rapidly without boiling over. After the minute has passed turn down the heat and skim off any foam that has formed. Once the jars, rings, and lids have boiled for 10 minutes turn the heat off but leave them in the hot water. Test the jelly to see if it will set up by placing a small amount on the cold saucer. Let it cool and then draw a spoon through it to see if it will leave a trail. If the cold jelly stays liquid then add the other packet of pectin to the batch and bring it back to a rolling boil. Boil again for 1 minute and then turn the heat off.

Using the jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the water bath, but don't pour the hot water in the jars back into the pot as this will make it overflow later. Place each jar on the towel. Take the lids and rings out of the hot water and sit them near the jars. Now carefully ladle the hot jelly mixture into the jars using the funnel and filling them to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe each jar rim with a clean damp paper towel to ensure a good seal and then place the lids and rings on them. Do not screw the rings down tight. Use the hot jar lifter to slowly lower each jar back into the hot water bath. Be sure they are covered by 1/2 inch of water. You can use the hot water that was used to boil the rings and lids to top off the water bath if needed. Boil the filled jars for 10 minutes and then lift them slowly onto the towel to cool. As they cool, the jars lids should seal by popping downward so that they cannot be pushed down using a finger. Any jars that do not seal should be stored in the fridge until used.

This grape apple jelly besides making a delicious jelly, also make a wonderful glaze for meats such as hams. It is a beautiful red jelly that will make a nice addition to any apple baskets being given as gifts. Having made it many times along with the apple butter using my other recipe, I can say it is my favorite jelly recipe.