All summer long I had this song stuck in my head, particularly the lyric “she’s got me high as a Georgia pine, wild as a muscadine (pronounced musky-dine, naturally) vine…” It was on continuous play in my mind, over and over and over again, only occasionally alternating with useful things like thoughts. Don’t worry, since we started the school year it’s been replaced by the old favorite, Froggy Went a Courtin‘ which is infinitely
more obnoxious to sing around fellow adults better.
When I saw local muscadines in the market, I scooped up a pound. The state fruit of North Carolina is the scuppernog, a variety of muscadine, something I knew I’d be returning to it sometime soon for Tasting North Carolina. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a quick jam, something to add to my list of preserves I’ll be gifting this holiday season.
The jam is fresh muscadines, cane sugar, a squeeze of meyer lemon, and a bit of salt. Muscadines are a sweet, robust grape, so this jam doesn’t need much to enhance the flavor. I opted to strain it for a smoother finish, but left chunky it would be the perfect pair for a pork roast or glaze for a ham. As it is, wrapped up with a wedge of brie and an assortment of crackers this jam will be the perfect something to slide into a stocking or present as a hostess gift.
makes 4 half pint jars
2 pounds muscadine grapes
2 cups raw cane sugar
Juice of 2 meyer lemons
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp classic pectin
In a saucepan combine grapes, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until thick. Stir in pectin and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
In a waterbath boil jars and lids.
Push jam mixture through a mesh strainer to create a smooth jam, or leave the grapes in tact for a chunky preserve.
Use a spoon to fill the jars, leaving 1/4″ of room at the top. Use a spoon to make sure there are no bubbles in the jar, and adjust the headspace (space between the jam and the top of the jar) as needed. Wipe the rim with a sterile cloth and fish a lid out of the pot. Place the lid onto the jar and screw the band on tightly. Set aside and repeat with all of your jars.
Take the rack from the other pot and place the jars onto it. Lower the rack into the pot (whose water should be boiling) and process the jars for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water and (here’s the hardest part) wait for the ping. When they first come out of the water the jar should pop up and down, but when the jars seals you won’t be able to pop the jar any more. Some jars will seal immediately, some will take a little longer, and some may not at all. If jars fail to seal, store them in the fridge for up to two weeks. The jars that do seal, however, are good in a cool dark space for up to a year. Enjoy!
**As with any preservation process, there are risks. If you notice anything abnormal, discard the jam immediately. Botulism is no fun.**