Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Texas Mustang Grapes and Homemade Jelly

My wife and I checked on the wild Mustang grapes at our place in Lampasas this last week. We have been watching them this season in hopes of beating the coons and birds to enough ripe grapes to make some jelly or wine for the season. There were none last year due to the drought and very few this year.  What few we saw will be ready over the next couple of weeks.  If you have wild grape vines in your part of the country now is the time to check them as they will be ready very soon.

Mustang grape jelly always brings back memories of my grandmothers and my mom making jelly. The process would fill the house with a wonderful sweet, rich grape smell that promised the taste of biscuits filled with butter and the rich grape flavor of the Texas Hill County. It has been many years since I was involved with cooking the juice down from the grapes and I had forgotten how purple and rich the juice from wild mustang grapes becomes as you cook the grapes down.  Here is a good basic recipe for a really pretty and wonderful tasting Mustang Grape jelly. Hope you enjoy the biscuits and peanut butter sandwiches that will taste a whole lot better with your homemade jelly. 

Mustang Grape Jelly

Wash grapes thoroughly and put washed grapes in a cooker, add enough water to cover them. After the water starts to boil, cook the grapes (stirring frequently) until the skins begin to slip. When the skins will slip easily from the grapes, they are ready to press. Strain the cooked grapes and juice through a colander line with a jelly bag or medium textured cloth. Press all the juice from the grapes with a wooden spoon, but do not force the pulp through the colander. Add one box of fruit pectin to 5 cups of juice. Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and then add seven cups of sugar. Stirring constantly bring the mixture back to a rolling boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. When the mixture forms a string as it is poured from a spoon, remove from heat. Skim all the foam and crystals from the surface, and pour the processed jelly into hot sterilized jars. Seal immediately with canning lids before the jelly cools.

Warning: From personal experience let me warn you to wear latex or similar gloves to pick the grapes as the acid you will get on your hands burns. Also wear old clothes that you do not mind staining as the grapes stain everything they touch. Be very careful about getting the juice on anything you do not want to dye purple as the juice colors anything it is spilled on or wiped up with. Don’t ask me how I know. Wild Ed


James M. said...

I did some mustang grape picking today at my parents and have a batch on the stove right now (I work nights but am off tonight). This will by my first batch to do myself but my mother and grandmothers made it all the time. Hopefully mine will turn out like theirs always did!

Thanks for the post and your blog is bookmarked now!

James M.

Chris Miller said...

Hey Ed,

Been a while since I caught up. We're moving back to Texas... this time to the big bend area to live off grid. Looking forward to following your blog more and learning what I can. It's going to be a wild ride.

Hope you're doing well.

We started up a blog too if you want to check it out.

Chris Miller - One Family's Journey To Finding True Happiness

Unknown said...

Best wild mustang grape jelly EVER!!! This was my first time to make mustang grape jelly (helped my grandmother lots of times) and it came out perfect! I live in Waco and we are having a bumper crop of mustang grapes this year. I'm going to keep making it and give it as gifts for Christmas! Thanks, Wild Ed for an easy, delicious recipe!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I live in Pennsylvania. Does anyone have any recipes for wild grapes in PA?

Robyn Reed said...

I have been making mustang grape jelly for years. And this is the best recipe. One thing I do is juice my grapes, strain in the colander, then thru cheese cloth, and pour into big glass jars. I let them sit in the jars, in the 'fridge, for about 48 hours, then I dip out all but about 1/2 inch of juice, strain again, and it is ready to cook. That 1/2 inch left in the glass jars is sediment. Your jelly will be clear and beautiful without this sediment.

I cloth dampened with Clorox will get stains off your counter and sink.

Anonymous said...

Do you cut or pull the grapes from the stems?
Before or after you wash?

Wild Ed said...

We wash first then pull unless they are so ripe the inside pulls out then we will cut them off the stem. Ed

Cynthia Jordan said...

Hi - this year will be my first attempt to make mustang grape jelly. My husband remembers his grandmother making it for years.
The problem is that my husband has picked a 5 gallon bucket of mostly green, unripen grapes. Do the grapes need to be ripe? He said he remembers that his grandmother didn't always use ripe grapes. I don't want to undertake this effort now with green grapes if the grapes must be ripe. Thanks.

Wild Ed said...

Cynthia we have found the riper the better. I usually don't even look at the grapevines until after July 4th. That being said I have never used green grapes to make jelly or wine. The ripe ones are tart enough. Ed