This should probably be called a tutorial on how NOT to make jelly.  Just warning you.

After weeks of procrastinating I dug the frozen grape juice out of the depths of my deep freeze to make into jelly.
My original thought was that I’d wait until it cooled off, but since that obviously isn’t going to be happening in my lifetime I decided to just go for it.

One lesson learned: Never “just go for it” when you’re making jelly.

Here are the reasons why.

  • You’ll realize halfway through that you forgot to borrow a pan big enough to use for the boiling water bath
  • You’ll realize halfway through that you don’t have enough pectin for all of the juice
  • You’ll realize halfway through that you bought the wrong kind of pectin so you can’t make the low sugar variety
  • You’ll realize halfway through that you don’t own a funnel so you’ll have to make one
  • You’ll realize halfway through that you don’t have the right kind of tongs and repeatedly attempt to scald your hands off trying to remove the jelly jars
  • You’ll realize halfway through that you don’t even like grape jelly and begin to question your sanity regarding this little project

The good news?  In case you want to attempt this yourself I documented each painful step for you.   ; )

First, the list of items I used:

(10) 1/2 pint or (5) pint jars (I used pint only because that’s all I had – 1/2 pint would probably be better unless you’re a grape jelly fiend)

4 cups juice from strained grapes

6.75 cups sugar (unless you’re smart and buy the low-sugar pectin)

2 packets Ball liquid fruit pectin (SUPER un-impressed with this stuff – would not recommend)

Canner or very large pot for boiling jars to seal


Step 1 – Mix grape juice and sugar in large pot and bring to hard boil, stirring frequently

Step 2 – Add both packets of pectin and return to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Try not to panic when the entire conglomeration tries to boil over all over you.

Step 3 – Sit a spoon in ice water until cold then dip a small amount of jelly out of the pan and let sit until room temperature to make sure it sets up.  Try not to panic when you realize it’s not setting up at all.  (This won’t happen if you use the reduced-sugar pectin.  Just saying.)

Step 4 – Place lids in hot water so they will stick well when you put them on the jars. While they are soaking, fill jars with jelly, leaving about 1/2 inch of space in the top of the jar. (I obviously don’t recognize the difference between 1/2 inch and 2 inches.)
You get a bonus if you’re a brainiac like me and still don’t own a funnel after 5+ years of marriage (especially if you realize you need one about once a week). Don’t worry, just improvise and use something you have lying around. Does it shock you that I used an empty Coke Zero 2-liter bottle (cleaned of course)? No? I thought not….

Step 5 – Once the lids are softened, place one on each jar and screw a ring on tightly.

Step 6 – Place jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes to ensure a good seal. Water should be 2 inches above jars. OOPS.

Step 7 – Remove jars with tongs. To avoid having a heart attack while lifting out of the boiling water I’m going to suggest that you just break down and buy the tongs made specially for canning. Seriously, peoples, remind me that I said that next time I mention canning…

Step 8 – Admire your pretty jars of jelly. That didn’t set up. At all. Like I said earlier, not a fan of the liquid pectin. I’ve made this before with the low-sugar pectin and it set up beautifully, so I plan to use the left over juice to make some jelly that I actually know will turn out well.
Besides, I need a bigger pot….

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