A "Grape" Way To Spend Your HOT Summer Days...

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with Keller Williams Realty--Boerne Hill Country

Paybacks are hell...literally...especially with the heat wave America is experiencing.  I would get razed about this time every year about how nice it was in every part of the rest of America compared to our Texas heat.  I figured one day they would get theirs. HA!  Little did they know it would come so soon.  The funny part is...little Boerne, TX is actually cooler than most of America.  Maybe it's God's way of evening the score.  But that's not what this blog is about. 

About this time every summer "feral" vines start putting out ripe grapes all over the state of Texas.  For those of you who live here...you probably pass by the vines every day on your way to town.  They grow wild on country fences and especially like the motts near creeks and rivers.  I have two favorite places to harvest them...the Tractor Supply parking lot and at the Kendall County Fair Grounds here in Boerne, Texas.  Crum...if it's going to be blistering hot...you might as well be inside where it's cool making some Wild Mustang Grape Jelly.

It's really not that hard...just looks hard...or like you really fussed.  It's time intensive...meaning...it takes time to pick the grapes and de-stem them.  The actual jelly making is a breeze.  So...just because I'm nice, I'm going to tell you how YOU can make Wild Mustang Grape Jelly...even if you razed me about my blistering hot summer days last year. 

Before I start...just a couple of veteran hints on picking grapes:

  1. Pick grapes in the morning when it's cool.
  2. Take a pair of scissors or garden snips just in case you run into some difficult vines.
  3. Always, always, ALWAYS wear a long sleeve shirt and gloves to pick grapes.  If you don't, your skin will be itching for a couple days.
  4. Get permission from the folks that own or manage the place where you pick your grapes.  You don't want to create bad mojo between you and your neighbor...even if they don't live on the vacant lot where you pick. 

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Half pint jars with lids and rims
  • Large stock pot
  • Small sauce pan for sterilizing lids
  • Ladle
  • Jar funnel
  • Wet paper towel
  • Strainer
  • Large and small measuring cups
  • Large bowl
  • Potato masher or slotted spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 gallons of Mustang Grapes
  • 7 cups of sugar (pre-measured and put aside)
  • 1/2 tsp. of butter
  • 1 box of Sure-Gel Pectin

Directions:

  1. Wash and de-stem grapes.
  2. Put grapes in large pot.  Add 1-2 cups of water.
  3. Heat grapes on medium-high heat, gently mashing them while they are cooking.  As it cooks you will see the grapes popping out of their skins.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes or until they are a ruby red color.
  5. While grapes are simmering...you can put your lids into a small pan of water.  Heat...but don't bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and have them ready for later.
  6. Ladle grapes and juices into a sieve and press juice through into your large bowl.  Discard seeds and skins.
  7. Measure out 5 cups of juice and return to clean pot.  
  8. Add one box of pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  (A rolling boil is when you can stir the liquid and still see it bubbling).
  9. Keep at rolling boil for one minute.  (Have your timer handy for this).
  10. Add pre-measured 7 cups of sugar to boiling juice.
  11. Stir until dissolved.
  12. Bring to a rolling boil again.  Let it boil for exactly one minute and remove from heat.  If you add 1/2 tsp. of butter it will reduce the foam on top.
  13. Skim off foam and ladle jelly into sterilized jars about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. 
  14. Wipe any excess jelly from rim of jar and put lid on top.  Screw on rim.
  15. You will know it's sealed when you hear the lid pop later.

See how the skins are popping?

This is what it looks like once the juice has been cooking with the sugar.

Beeeautiful! 

See??? Easy schmeezy.  Give them to friends, family or clients and I promise you they will be coming back for more. 

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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Texas
Groups:
Gardening
Keller Williams Active Rain Worldwide
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
All Thing's Texas
Addicted to Active Rain
Tags:
texas
heat wave
boerne
mustang grape jelly
how to make jelly
what to do in hot weather

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Rainer
133,653
Mark Schweller
A. Meadows Real Estate - Oakley, CA
Building Communities; One Home at a Time

Looks very delicious!  Homemade jelly is the best!  Thanks for sharing!

Jul 20, 2011 07:39 AM #1
Rainmaker
807,860
Kerrie La Guardia
ActiveRain, Community Manager - Kirkland, WA
Let it Rain!

Due to your amazing instructions this may be something even I can do!  I'm quite the novice in the kitchen but this looks doable!

Jul 20, 2011 09:19 AM #2
Rainmaker
233,122
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA BRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA
Broker/Consultant

Wonderful tips Claire.  What a great family outing this would make.  Ironic that we both wrote about grapes today!

Jul 20, 2011 09:23 AM #3
Ambassador
954,802
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

I like the cartoon you have on the post. The heat is sweltering here in Tennessee also.

Jul 20, 2011 10:48 AM #4
Rainer
22,217
Jerry Hill
Hill Realty - Bryant, AR

Claire, have you ever made or heard of anyone making wine out of the Wild Mustang Grapes?  Wild Mustang Grape Wine would make an interesting label.

Jun 19, 2012 09:19 AM #5
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Rainer
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Claire Record

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