Good morning! And Happy Anniversary to Oysters & Pearls!!
I seriously cannot believe it’s been one year since I started this little ole blog. It’s been such a fun experience, and I’m so happy I did it. I love the conversation starter it has become around town, and I love the new people and bloggers I’ve met because of it, whether virtually or in person. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!
To celebrate, I was going to make an elaborate cake, or pie, or something that seemed befitting of such a special occasion. However, that idea completely went out the window when I decided to make jam instead. Which I suppose is fitting after all. Simple and as Southern as it gets: Muscadine Jam.
No, this is absolutely not seasonal. Muscadine grapes ripen near the end of August, and that’s when I picked these at my parents’ house. Remember me mentioning that? Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to a sunnier, warmer, and much tanner time.
Both the purple and gold grapes are technically “muscadines.” I grew up calling them all “scuppernongs.” I’ve since learned that they are both muscadines, but the gold variety are scuppernongs. Sort of like, a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. Ya mean?
Anyway, the absolute best way to eat these grapes is directly off the vine. Pop the hull and spit out the seeds.
Don’t you just feel warmer now? I think I’m just about over this winter weather and ready for summer again. Writing this post and editing these pictures from August really sealed the deal, and a reminder of summer through the pictures and the smell of these grapes cooking is exactly what I needed this week. Is anybody else over winter?
Anyway, last August my Mom and I picked almost 8 gallons of grapes behind my parents’ house.
We washed them, separated them by color, and bagged them up. I had big plans for jelly. Or something.
But then life got busy and in the way, and in a panic, I stuffed all the bags in our deep freezer. Whole. Turns out, that’s okay! And last weekend, I got around to doing something with some of them.
Using a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Elena over at Biscuits & Such, I decided I would make a simple muscadine jam with a couple bags of grapes. It didn’t work out perfectly, and my first two batches of the jam never really set. However, I’ve since repeated the process a couple more times, figured out how to fix it, but also decided that this happy accident is perfectly all right with me. Scuppernong Sauce is also the jam.
Muscadine Jam Recipe
adapted from Biscuits & Such
makes 4 jelly-jars (half pint)
– 2 pounds (1 gallon freezer bag full) muscadine grapes (any variety)
– 2 cups raw cane sugar
– juice of two meyer lemons (1 cup)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 packet Sure Jell Pectin
In a large sauce pan, combine grapes, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until thick. Stir in pectin and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Note: this will take longer if you are using frozen grapes. I put them in the pot frozen, and started the timer once they began to simmer. Stir often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot, and smash the grapes against the side of the pot.
In a waterbath or your dishwasher, sanitize jars and lids.
Push the jam mixture through a mesh strainer to create a smooth jam, or leave the grapes intact for a chunky preserve. I did the former.
Use a spoon or ladle to fill the jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a cloth and screw the bands down over the lids tightly. Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water, then remove to a dishcloth on your counter. Let sit for 24 hours or overnight. If any jars do not seal within 2 hours, immediately put them in the refrigerator.
Disclaimer: as with any canning or preserving, there’s always a slight risk of botulism. If something doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge. If you have any concerns whatsoever, toss it.
I mentioned my happy Scuppernong Sauce accident because it’s awesome. The problem lies in the straining process. If you don’t push enough of the jam through a mesh strainer, your “jam” won’t set. And pushing it through a mesh strainer is no joke. You will have to do a lot of pushing. I used the back of a wooden spoon as well as the bottom of a soup ladle. Try to get as much pulp through as possible if you want a true jam that sets (jells). However, if you want a delicious summery scuppernong/muscadine syrup/sauce that is delicious on ice cream, in yogurt, or on biscuits, by all means, don’t kill yourself with all that straining. Because this stuff is the jam, whether or not it actually sets.
I am absolutely giddy with the idea of swirling some of this syrupy sauce into a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream this summer. I can’t think of a more Southern summer dessert.
And have I mentioned it’s divine on a biscuit?
That goes for any time of year. Including the frosty doldrums of this South Georgia winter.
And although I would love to gift each and every one of my wonderful readers a jar of this Heavenly jam/syrup/sauce, I have another gift for you. I like to make little labels on jars of jam I gift to those I love, and since I can’t give you the jar, I’ll give you the label. Just print, write the type of jam you’re giving, and sign it. It should fit perfectly on the lid of a jelly jar.
Because you, my dear readers, are indeed, the jam. Thanks for making this one of my best years yet.