This is my favorite time of the year! This is the time of the year when the muscadine grapes come in. If you have never heard of a muscadine grapes they are wild grapes that grow in the south. They have a thick skin, seeds, and are dark purple in color. The thick skins are sour but the insides taste like pure sugar!
I love to make homemade wine and jelly out of these grapes! These make wonderful frugal Christmas gifts. Everyone loves to receive a bottle of homemade wine or a jar of homemade jelly. I always get my grapes for free. It always seems that someone I know has extra grapes and invite me to pick them in exchange I usually give them a few jars of jelly or a bottle of wine as a thank you gift.
Here are the delicious recipes to make these yummy frugal treats!
Muscadine Grape Jelly
3 1/2 LBs of Grapes
7 Cups of Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 box of Sure Jell Pectin
Juicing the Grapes
Wash grapes, discard stems, place in saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Strain off juice using cheese cloth. (I use an old-fashioned berry press to juice my grapes and then let the juice run through a cheese cloth)
Making the Jelly
Measure 5 cups of juice in sauce pan. Stir in box of pectin. Bring to a boil. Quickly stir in 7 cups of sugar. Bring back to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Ladle into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized rings and lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Making Homemade Wine
This is a very easy recipe for making wine. It does not use any yeast and it has 3 simple ingredients: Sugar, water and Juice from fresh grapes. It uses a very simple fermantation process. This recipe was given to me from a friend who is 93 years old and has been making it all of her life. It makes a sweet wine. I have been making it for 5 years now successfully myself and we love it. Grapes have natural yeast in them and this is a no yeast recipe and very simple.
1. Crush a 5 gallon bucket of washed grapes skin seeds and all. I use muscadine or scuppernog grapes.
2. Return crushed grapes to clean 5 gallon bucket and cover with a clean dish towel.
3. Let sit for 3 days.
4. After the grapes have sat for 3 days strain off the juice and pulp. I do this with an old fashioned berry crusher.
5. Place the pulp and juice in a pot and bring to a steam. A steam is not a boil or simmer it is when steam rises off of the wooden spoon when the mixture is stirred.
6. Measure juice/pulp mixture and mix using these proportions: 1 QT Juice with 2 QT water and 3 LBS (about 2 cups of sugar to 1 LB) of white sugar.
7. Place in 1 Gallon jugs leaving a 2″ airspace at the top. I use the old vinegar jugs or you can use one big 4-5 gallon jug from a wine making store.
8. Place a balloon on top of the jug so it is sealed.
9. Place the jug in a cool dark place for about 40 days. (You will know when the wine is done because all of the pulp will first float to the top and then sink to the bottom.)
10. When all of the pulp is at the bottom siphon off the liquid on top in to wine bottles and seal. (I use a siphon from the automotive department of Walmart.) I also place my wine in old cleaned Liquor bottles with a screw on lid.