The simplicity of making grape jam

Jamming with friends

Making Grape Jam with Lenora

Concord Grapes

The beauty of Italian cooking  is in its simplicity. Most importantly, use the freshest produce, and the finest ingredients to produce excellent taste. That goes for making jam also!

First of all, our recipe uses about half the sugar as compared to “normal” recipes. You also do not have to use pectin, even though we do, but we use Pomona Universal Pectin which does not contain dextrose, preservatives or sugar. Regular pectin requires your jam or jelly to be 55-85% sugar to set firmly. Our goal is to use less sugar for optimal health benefits.
However, if you prefer, you can use lemon juice instead, which we will do next time.  The jam may be a bit looser, but will still have the same great taste. You will need juice from one lemon for each 5 pounds of grapes.

Making jam

In the shape of Italy

Years ago we each planted 4 grape vines, as a result, we now produce enough grapes for us to can about 5 dozen pints of concord grape jam per year. If we can grow these vines in Iowa, I’m sure they can be grown in most regions. One year we used our fresh grapes, and then froze some over winter. Consequently, this May we used those for our grape jam and it was just as tasty as fresh grapes.  Harvest here in Iowa is usually the end of August or early September.

In addition to the delicious flavor of fruit filled with sunshine, researchers have shown that concord grapes are loaded with various kinds of flavonoids, which is a powerful source of antioxidants–all for good health.

Most of all, it’s important to find a buddy to can with you! Please enjoy the recipe and let us know how you did making your own fresh grape jam with less sugar.

Lenora and Maryanna’s Homemade/Farm-to-table Grape Jam


2 qt. Food Mill with small holes

11. 5 qt. Hot water canning pot with rack (not pressure cooker)

1 Jar lifter

28 (8 0z.) Mason or Ball Jars and lids

7-10 qt. pot with lid

0ne large stainless steel pot to sit the food mill on

One Ladle & One Spoon

Oven mitts (don’t want to burn hands)


28 cups (7 qts.) Homegrown Concord Grapes (de-stemmed)

1 qt. Organic Grape Juice Concentrate (no sugar)

7 C. Organic Cane Sugar

2 Pkg. (1.1 oz.) Pomona Universal Pectin *(Does not contain dextrose, preservatives or sugar). Regular pectin requires your jam or jelly to be 55-85% sugar to set firmly.

[One box of this Pectin makes 22 (8 oz.) jars.

  • Clean all utensils including jars and lids with hot soapy water. Rinse and let dry.
  • Follow ball jar instructions for preparation.
  • Combine the above ingredients (grapes, pectin and grape juice concentrate) in the 7-10 qt. stainless steel pot. Cover and bring to rolling boil stirring occasionally; then add: 7 cups of Organic Cane Sugar stirring constantly for one minute at rolling boil.
  • Take off heat. Place the food mill over a stainless steel bowl or another clean pot. Pour grape mixture into the food mill. Turn the crank to separate skins and seeds to collect the pure grape mixture that will be put into the 8 oz. jars.
  • Ladle & fill 8 oz. jars with ¼ space empty at top. Put on the two part lids. Make sure to turn just to keep the flat part in place and not too tight.
  • Using the Jar lifter, put jars in canner with water already boiling; let boil for 10 minutes remove jars with the lifter and hear the lids pop and seal. Repeat process until all the jars are sealed.
  • Let sit for 24 hours before use. Keeps for one year unopened. Refrigerate opened jars up to 3 weeks. Makes 28 (8 oz.) jars.
  • NOTES:  Traditional ball jar jam recipes use more sugar than we used. You can use as much or as little as you want.
  • The canner with the jar rack is inexpensive and can be purchased at your local super center or online, or probably found in your grandma’s attic.

Learn more about traveling to Italy on Lenora’s Italy Retreats For Women
Find out more about Lenora’s Sweet Life Workshops and Sweet Life Happiness Coaching.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided the above author credit is included.