but if you've got any sense, you will not like jammin'. sorry, that's just plain old jamming, with the "g". i spent a whole afternoon jamming. as in, making jam. you see, we have all these lovely concord grapes growing on our garage, and every day i looked at them admiringly, smitten with those deep purple spheres that seemed almost fake in their perfection. it seemed a shame to just let them all freeze or rot as winter approached. i should do something with them, i thought to myself. i should be all martha stewarty and make homemade grape jam! yes, what a fabulous idea.
i googled how to make it, and it seemed pretty straightforward. all of the various sites i looked at mentioned that it takes a bit of patience to peel the grapes, but they all kind of breezed by that point. i guess if they didn't, no one in their right mind would make the jam. so let me be clear: peeling the grapes takes a very, very long time. it's easy but mind-numbingly tedious. your fingers will wrinkle and stain. your eyeballs will glaze over. your bowl of peeled grapes will very slowly start to fill.... but the bucket of unpeeled grapes still to go will never seem to dwindle. you will hate the grapes. you will hate martha stewart. you will hate the websites for not warning you that jam making is for crazies.
anyhoo, without further ado, here is the play by play of my jam making adventure.
requirements for jam:
3 lbs concord grapes
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
immeasurable amounts of patience
glass(es) of wine or other booze to keep you from going bonkers
step 1: ah... beautiful grapes on the vine spark jam-making inspiration
step 2: collect big pile of gorgeous grapes. continue to admire them and marvel at your wonderful idea.
step 3: pluck grapes from the stems. they look like a bucket of blueberries. start to nervously realize that this is a lot of grapes
step 4: squeeze the end of the grape, allowing the inside to plop right out of its skin.
step 5: peel. peel. peel peelpeelpeelpeel approximately 1200 grapes for approximately 2 hours. stare at pile of grapes. detest grapes. kick yourself over stupid jam-making idea.
step 6: put all the skins in a food processer and puree with 1 cup of sugar until smooth.
step 7: regroup. admire that incredible colour. go have a glass of wine or something.
step 8: back to work. put the grapes, purple skin puree, the rest of the sugar, and the lemon juice into a pot.
step 9: bring to a boil. then turn down heat and let simmer to thicken. stir occasionally.
step 10: more tedium as you strain out the seeds, mashing the mixture patiently to get out all the sticky purple goodness.
step 11: i didn't think it was thick enough so i put it back on the stove for a bit. oooh, looks so perdy. my love of the grapes is renewed.
step 12: pour into jars. woohoo, we're done!!!
step 13: enjoy the unbelievably delicious results. YUM!!
i was actually crazy enough to do this whole thing twice. the second time around i set up my peeling station so i could sit at a table within view of the tv. much better than standing at the kitchen counter, staring out the window, the occasional squirrel running along the fence my only entertainment.
and i have to say, the jam is amazing. thick, rich, and sweet. my mom, brother, and sister have all raved about it. and clearly, if i put myself through this a second time, it goes to show that i think the product is worth the effort :)