Almost every little change in season brings another fruit that sends me into a starry-eyed swoonfest. Strawberries might be the Ryan Gosling of the summer, but Concord grapes are the Johnny Depp of fall. And when Johnny Depp is staring you down at the farmer’s market, you don’t walk by looking for a better looking specimen. Same goes for Concords. Before the quince, before the pears, before the barrage of apples, preserve one last dark, luscious fruit.
So, red wine and grapes. We’re not talking about brain surgery here. Just a dark burgundy jam with the pungent, tangy-sweet true grape flavor of Concords and a subtle earthy undertone of red wine. This is grape jam, but better. So your bratty nephew can eat this on his PB&J and not miss a beat. But you could also serve this with a stinky cheese and crackers at a dinner party. Mixed into seltzer, you have grape soda for kids or adults.
Just a few words to the wise here: Invest in a food mill. Or borrow one from a friend. Or invest in a nice chinoise. Because straining grape seeds from grape guts is probably the most annoying job out there. It’s not difficult, but fun is not a part of the equation.
- 1 lb Concord Grapes
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine - Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, etc.
- 1.5 - 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Lemon, Juiced
- Big Pinch Kosher Salt
- Rinse your grapes thoroughly. Remove the grapes from the stems and rinse a second time.
- Time to separate your grape guts from the grape skins. Set up two bowls on your counter. Grab a grape from the end opposite of where it was attached to the stem. Pinch the grape, letting the green grape innards go into one bowl. Put the purple grape skins in the second bowl. Continue this until all grapes as separated.
- In a saucepan, add the grape skins, wine, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil at medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes.
- While the grape skins are cooking, strain the seeds from the grape guts. A food mill is the best tool for this task, but you can also achieve this by forcing the grapes through a fine sieve.
- Add the seedless grape innards to the grape skins and bring the mixture back to a boil. Once a rolling boil has happened, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then transfer to heat-proof containers. This will store in the refrigerator for at least four weeks. Or you can put the jam into sterilized Ball jars and process in a waterbath for long-term storage.