How to Make Muscadine Jam

Welcome to my home in North Carolina! A taste of the south is growing along nicely here in the form of muscadine grape vines. If you aren’t familiar with these gems native to the southeast, muscadines are a grape unlike any other. Within a thick skin lies an irresistible sweet and tart flesh perfect for wine, jellies, pies or jams. Muscadine jam is a little trickier to make than other grape jams, but it is well worth the effort.

If you’ve ever had a muscadine, you know the skin is tough stuff. Most people squeeze the sweet flesh out of the hull and pitch the “shell.” Cooked down and pureed, though, that leathery skin can add spectacular flavor and texture to a delightful and distinctly southern jam.

What else is in North Carolina? DIY’s Blog Cabin 2013, where muscadines are growing on the pergola. If you win, you should really invite me over. We’ll make jam. You’ve sure got the kitchen for it. Here’s how we’ll do it.

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Step 1

 Open Gallerymuscadines

Gather 2 quarts of black or bronze muscadine grapes (or a blend of both). Native to the southeast, muscadines are a thick-hulled grape with bright sweet flavor, excellent for wine, jams or jellies.

Step 2

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Use a paring knife to score the end of grapes and squeeze the flesh into a pot and place the hulls into a bowl and set aside.

Step 3

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Boil the flesh for 10 minutes until soft.

Step 4

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Using a Foley food mill or fine sieve, separate the seeds from the flesh and juice and discard the seeds.

Step 5

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Place hulls in a pot with enough water to keep them from sticking to the bottom and boil until soft and tender (10-15 minutes).

Step 6

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Puree hulls in a food processor.

Step 7

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Combine flesh, juice, hulls and 6 cups of sugar in a heavy pot, stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Step 8

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Continue to stir and boil until reaching gelling point of 220 degrees. Many jams are produced using the addition of commercial pectin, but the natural pectin in these grapes is enough to gel without additives. Test the thickness by dripping a spoonful of jam on a cold plate. Wait 30 seconds. If the jam moves, but does not run down the surface, it is ready to jar. If not, continue to boil, testing every couple of minutes until desired consistency is reached.

Step 9

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Use a ladle to transfer jam into sterile pint or half-pint jars, leaving ¼” head space. Most dishwashers are hot enough to sterilize without the need to boil jars.

Step 10

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Cap with lids and bands and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from canning bath and let rest. As it cools, a tell-tale (and delightful) *ping* will be heard after a couple of minutes, indicating a successful seal.

Step 11

 Open Gallerymaking muscadine jam

Yield will be approximately 4 pints. Canned muscadine jam can be stored at room temperature up to a year without loss of flavor. With a bright and sweet flavor unlike any other, odds are it won’t be around that long.

Materials

2 quarts muscadine grapes

6 cups sugar

Tools

Paring knife

Heavy, non-reactrive  pot

Bowl

Food mill or sieve

Food processor

Measuring cup

Canning jars, lids and bands

Water bath canner

About Mick Telkamp 

34Posts

A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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12 Responses

  1. James says:

    I have two small vines. I picked my grapes every three days selecting only the darkest ripe ones and putting them in the refrigerator. after three pickings I had about three and a half quarts. Our first time at making jam and we only used 8 cups of sugar because my wife said that was sweet enough. The boiling juice wouldn't get to 220 degrees so after about five minutes we turned off the heat and filled 4 one and half pint jars. It taste wonderful and if it doesn't set we will just have grape sauce on our biscuits.

    • James says:

      Two days later, perfect jam, almost too thick to spread. Time to pull out the flour mill and make some more whole wheat bread.

  2. Jo Ann says:

    I made some muscadine jelly. And it is too tart. Any suggestions?

    • Mick Telkamp says:

      Hi Jo Ann, You can increase the sugar to balance the flavor of overly tart muscadines, but it may increase your cook time (too much and it won't set at all). You might try substituting a little apple juice or regular grape juice for some of the muscadine to tame the tart. Both contain enough pectin to help the jelly firm up without having to make other adjustments. Good luck!

  3. Molly says:

    I Love making jams and jellies. Come on over and lets get started.

  4. MaryPA says:

    Yum looks sooooo good and must taste yummy.

  5. Lauren says:

    My family would definitely use these grapes year after year making memories to last a lifetime generation after generation. Hope we win!

  6. julie says:

    Sounds fabulous! I've never tasted a muscadine grape, looking forward to using this recipe when I win my Blog Cabin…will send you a jar!!
    JULIE

  7. ablessedgrandma says:

    Mick,
    Thank you for the muscadine recipe. I f I win the Blog Cabin I'm planning a get together with neighbors,friends,and family. Bring all your recipes because we are having a contest. We will cook in my beautiful kitchen. Then afterwards we will have a tasting contest. Then, we will all vote for the best recipe. After the contest we will have a delicious meal on the big front porch. At dark we will all gather around the fire pit and roast marshmallows and laugh and have fun getting to know our new neighbors and new friends.

  8. Sherry says:

    That looks so good and yes I would really invite you over Thank You Mick!

  9. Sherry says:

    Yes I would invite you over. Nice recipe Thank You!

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