Grape Jelly

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but here’s another cooking adventure I’d always been afraid to try. Making jelly and canning. This adventure wasn’t even on my culinary bucket list – it was too scary. There’s the whole bit with the pectin and the part of sterilizing jars and sealing jars. It just seemed like way too much time and effort to be worth it.

Boy was I wrong!

Homemade jelly is FANTASTIC.

Maybe it’s the grapes.

These grapes came from my parents’ lake house in Lake Geneva, WI. This house used to be my grandparents’ summer home and I spent many of my childhood summers making memories there.

By the road there’s a fence that has grapes growing on it. Grapes which I always thought were green grapes. Nope. They’re beautiful, purple concord grapes! They were just never ripe when I was visiting.

This year, the grapes were ready a little early and Mom called me up asking if I wanted to try making jelly with her. She had over ten pounds of harvested grapes! She stopped by on her way back to Florida for the winter for a few days and we tried our hand at jelly making. A first for both of us!

There are a good number of steps to jelly making. And there’s a good mess to be made. But it’s not difficult. And with the right canning suppliesit’s even fun. This recipe made 12 4oz Jarsand 4 8oz jars.

Making Homemade Jelly 1 Making Homemade Jelly 2 Making Homemade Jelly 3 Making Homemade Jelly 4

Grape Jelly


  • 5 lb concord grapes
  • 7 C sugar, divided use
  • 1 pkt pectin(or 8 tbsp)


  • blender or juicer
  • cheesecloth
  • jelly jars with lids and rings
  • jar funnel
  • jar grabber
  • magnetic lid grabber
  • large stock pot(s)


  1. Sanitize your jelly jars. I did this by running my dishwasher on a very hot cycle. Keep jars warm until ready to fill to prevent the glass cracking. If you do this in a dishwasher, simply don’t open the door until you’re ready to fill the jars. If you sanitize jars by washing with soapy water and boiling in water for 10 minutes,keep the jars in warm water until you’re ready to fill them.
  2. Place jar lids in a shallow skillet over low heat (do not boil) to get the seal gummy, remove lids from water.
  3. Place grapes in a blender (this will need to be done in batches) and pulse until juiced. Pour and press the juice through a cheesecloth lined strainer and strain into a large measuring cup. Squeeze cheesecloth to extract all the juice. Do this until you have 5 C of juice. (Any extra juice is a delicious tart treat for you to enjoy!)
  4. In a small bowl, combine the pectin with 1/4 C of the sugar.
  5. Warm the juice, but do not boil (yet). Stir in the pectin. Bring to a full boil.
  6. Add the rest of the sugar and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  7. Fill jars with jelly, cover with lids and rings. Seal by placing the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in a dry place over night. (I did this in my oven.)

*This recipe is adapted from*

Homemade Grape Jelly

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Grape Risotto

This post accompanies yesterday’s Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Tilapia. It is also a Nikki Dinki recipe.

Risotto is my favorite thing to cook. Risotto has the reputation of being very difficult and is presented as a fancy restaurant only dish. It takes patience (something I’m admittedly not very good at) and attention. It requires tasting. It requires you to immerse yourself in the process, to trust your hand when to add more liquid and when it’s done.

Rumor has it you must remain at the stove constantly stirring and tending to the pot of rice, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true. I’m not telling you to dump in some liquid and go take a bath, but you can relieve yourself from the wooden spoon occasionally. You can watch from the sidelines as the new addition of liquid bubbles and the rice absorbs the flavors being added to it. When you stir, do so gently and without repetition – I like to trace my spoon in figure eights, zig zags, and circles.

Making risotto makes me happy. Even though I don’t find it difficult to prepare, I still feel proud. Like I did something impressive. Like I could get famous off of this. (Oh, to dream)

Grape Risotto


  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 C Arborio rice
  • 3 cans vegetable stock
  • 3/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C sliced scallions
  • 1 C grapes, halved


  1. Bring stock to a gentle simmer in a large pot.
  2. In a dutch oven, saute shallots and garlic in olive oil. Add rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 C stock. Once the stock is absorbed by the rice, add in another ladleful of stock. Stir. Repeat the process until the rice is cooked and creamy. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. Stir in cheese, scallions, and grapes.

*This recipe is adapted from Nikki at*

Grape Risotto