How to Make Grape Jelly

One Methods:Canning Your Jelly

Grape jelly is an easy recipe that requires little more than grapes, sugar, and some fruit pectin. If you have some canning equipment, you can even keep the jelly for up to a year without spoiling, meaning you can easily make a big batch in the summer and save it throughout the entire year.


  • 5 pounds grapes (any flavor - typically red or Concord)
  • 2.5 cups white sugar
  • 8 tablespoons fruit pectin (one packet, usually)


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    Choose your grapes, aiming for fresh, sweet, and flavorful berries. The better the grapes, the better the jelly. It doesn't matter if they are seeded or seedless, green, white or red. That said, seeded grapes usually have a stronger flavor, and the majority of jellies are made with red or Concord grapes.[1]
    • You can also use 5 cups of grape juice in a pinch.
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    Pick the grapes off the bunch and wash them off. You should have roughly five lbs of grapes to work with.
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    Put the grapes in a large pot and cover with 2-1/2 cups of water. If you need a little extra to make sure that you have the berries covered, use it.
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    Bring the berries and water to a boil for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, covered. Raise the heat and put the cover on, letting the berries boil for ten minutes. Every few minutes give everything a nice big stir.
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    Place the grapes into a jelly bag so that the juice drains out into a jar or pot below.[2] Don't add water. Put about 2 cups at a time into the bag and let the juice drain. The jelly bag will collect the pulp, skin, and any seeds while the juice that you will use for the jelly drains out. You should have about 5 cups of juice at the end of this process.[3]
    • Squeeze the juice through the bag with clean hands or by pressing it gently with a spoon. Empty and discard the pulp periodically if the juice is draining too slowly. Rinse the bag if needed.
    • If you don't have a jelly bag, try forcing it through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth.[4]
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    Add the pectin and bring the juice to a full boil once more. Get a vigorous, rolling boiling going for about a minute before moving on to the next step..
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    Add the 2-1/2 cups of sugar, bringing the juice back to a boil. Keep the boil going for a quick, hard minute, stirring constantly.
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    Once the sugar is all dissolved, cut the heat and skim any foam off the top. Move quickly here -- you want the jelly to chill in the jars, not in the pot. Get the foam off with a slotted spoon and move on.
    • For a little different flavor, consider adding 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice here, giving your final jelly a bit of tangy-ness.[5]
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    Pour the hot liquid immediately into the hot canning jars. This is why preparing the jars ahead of time is so essential. By letting the mixture cool out in the open, you open the possibility that the jelly will crystallize and turn to a chunky, unappetizing mixture.[6]
    • Leave roughly 1/4 of an inch between the top of the jar and your fill line.[7]

Canning Your Jelly

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    Start boiling a large pot of water, enough to completely cover your cans. Canning requires you to heat the jars (after the are filled with jelly) to sterilize them and preserve the fruit. You should have your hot water bath boiling at the same time as you jelly.[8]
    • The following method will help you if you do not have dedicated canning equipment. However, getting a canning set is almost always easier than using a homemade water bath.
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    Sterilize your jars and lids before you begin cooking. This allows you to work efficiently, as opposed to rushing around as the jelly finishes. If you don't have a dishwasher with a sterilize setting, wash them with soap and water. Then boil the jars for 10 minutes, leaving them in the water until you're ready to use them. The lids should be kept in hot (but not boiling) water for 5-10 minutes.
    • The jars need to be hot when you pour in the jelly, otherwise they may crack.
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    Fill the jars with jelly and put the clean lids and rings on. Canning jars have a lid and a ring. The lid needs to have an unbroken rubber seal along the outside edge, and these can only be used once for canning. The rims screw on top of the lid to close the jar completely.
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    Gently place the closed jars in the boiling water for 5- 10 minutes. If you live above 1,000 feet above sea level, let them cook for the full ten minutes. Try to keep at least two inches of water above the top of the cans to speed up the process. Also, make sure that you have a tool capable of safely remove the hot cans from the boiling water before you begin.
    • If you live above 6,000ft above sea level, you should let the jars boil for closer to 15 minutes.[9]
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    Let the jars cool overnight, and serve when done. Place the jars in a cool place (not the refrigerator -- that's too cold) and let them cool back to room temperature. After 1-2 hours, when they don't burn you when touched, loosen the rims on the jars a half turn or so to prevent it from rusting or sticking onto the jar.[10]
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    Check that they jelly was properly preserved by pushing the top down. It shouldn't easily pop up and down, and shouldn't make a noise when pushed. If it does then you don't have the jar completely sealed, and the preserves will quickly spoil if you're not careful. Properly preserved jelly should last up to 12 months.[11]


  • See this article for details on how to use canning jars and a water bath process.
  • This same recipe makes fantastic jam using the grape pulp.
  • If you don't have jars to place the jelly in, using Ziploc bags can also work.


  • Take caution as the kettle will get hot at a rapid speed.
  • Jam must either be processed appropriately in a water bath canner or refrigerated. Do not use paraffin seals or an "open kettle" canning method.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass canning jars with toppers or glass jars
  • Cheese wax.
  • Kettle
  • Hot pad
  • Stove
  • Jelly bag with stand

Article Info

Categories: Jams and Jellies