Our grape vine had a bumper crop this season and the birds were making short work of them. If we didn’t hurry up and pick some to make grape jelly, there would be none left. I picked a whole preserving pan full and took them inside to wash and pick them off the bunches. Making fruit jelly is quite a time consuming process. Once the fruit had been washed and picked over to remove any yucky ones, it was put in the pan to simmer away and for the fruit to break down. As grapes are so juicy, I didn’t need to add any water.
Then came the tricky part of the process. The whole lot had to be placed in a sieve and the juice slowly drip though. But…… we didn’t have anything big enough to use. With a bit of lateral thinking, Robin solved the problem. As it happened, we had one of those splatter guards which are used over frying pans and the metal gauze had previously been damaged and removed. Robin stitched some mutton cloth around the edge, then fashioned a wire handle around the top. How I wish I had my camera was at the ready while he was busy with the needle. With some cord attached to the handles, to the bath tap, and a handy hook on the wall above the bath, the sieve was suspended in place. Of course, the test came when the hot liquid was carefully poured into the suspended sieve, with the preserving pan in place to catch the grape juice. I carefully placed old towel under the pan in case of dark red juicy splashes all over the bath. It all worked extremely well.
As anyone who has made fruit jelly knows, this is only half of the process. The drained juice must then be boiled up, sugar and lemon juice added, then the testing begins. This is where jam making becomes a bit of a trial for me, as I must test several times before it looks ready. I usually get a bit fed up by this stage and add a bit more sugar to the pan of fruit in the hope that this will make all the difference!
Success at last, it seems ready to pour into the hot sterilised jars. And just look at what I made, jar after jar of luscious grape jelly. It tastes so nice on a piece of toast at breakfast time.