A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Lexie found loaded grapevines on a fence line outside of our new office building. I went out and looked at them and found that they were Wild Mustang Grapes. I was so excited because it brought back so many great memories of grandma?s house in the summer. She used to have fresh grape jelly on the table with breakfast and I remember how delicious it was. I love it on hot buttered toast or biscuits. Needless to say, I gave Lexie the go-ahead to pick to her heart?s content. She went out and picked about 10 gallons of grapes and we went home on a mission!
Mustang Grapes grow like crazy all over Central and South Texas. You?ll find them covering fence lines and crawling up some trees. You have to be careful when handling these grapes because they are so acidic that the juice can burn your hands. It?s not a bad burn, but enough to make your hands itch and drive you nuts!
Mustang Grapes are usually ripe and ready to pick in Mid-July and can stay on the vine through August. But pick ?em when you see that they are ripe and ready or they?ll be gone in a hurry! Many birds and some other critters in our area love to eat them.
I make this recipe in small batches for convenience and to ensure that the jelly sets. I hope you enjoy this super easy summertime treat! You?ll have grape jelly to last for most of the year.
Here?s how to make the juice:
To about 2 gallons of grapes (stems and all ? thoroughly washed with cold water), I add ½ cup of water to prevent sticking.
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, over medium-high heat, cook grapes for about 20 minutes or until skins start splitting and slipping off. Turn heat off, cover and let sit about 20 minutes.Mustang Grape Jelly
Pour juice and grapes through a fine mesh strainer and mash with the back of a spoon to get all the juice out and some of the pulp. Discard all remaining in strainer. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
4 cups Mustang Grape juice
1 box Sure Gel powdered pectin
7 cups sugar
½ teaspoon butter
Measure out 7 cups of sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large saucepot combine juice, pectin and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil (will not stop bubbling even when stirred). Once boiling, add sugar all at once, stirring well to combine. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil rapidly, stirring constantly for 1 minute exactly. Immediately remove from heat, skim off any foam and ladle into hot sterilized jars, filling to 1/8 inch from top. Place sterilized tops and rings on jars and tighten rings firmly, but not as tight as you can.
Place jars in canner rack and lower into gently boiling water, covering tops of jars by two inches (add more water if necessary). Place lid on canner and continue gently boiling for 5 minutes. Carefully remove jars from canner and place upright on a towel-lined countertop or cooling rack and allow to cool completely. As jars cool you may hear a pop! That?s a great sound, it means your jars are sealing. After jars are completely cool, check seals by pressing tops of lids. If the lid pops back and forth, the lid is not sealed and you must use immediately and refrigerate. Otherwise, you can follow the Sure Jell or powdered pectin box?s directions for re-processing.