Images of grapes on a vine - Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly

Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly

Let’s talk fridge to freezer grape jelly!

Recently, our sweet neighbors reached out asking if we wanted some of their concord grapes for canning.

They mentioned critters (racoons or possums) were snacking on the grapes at night. This confirmed the grapes were ripe for picking, and they knew they were overloaded with excess. Thus, they were passing their good fortune onto the neighborhood by offering their surplus.

I have never juiced/canned grapes…or any food for that matter. Feeling unsure of how I was going to do this, I said yes! They encouraged me to bring a 5-gallon bucket and pruning shears to collect the concord grapes.

I am forever grateful to them for making my first experience so rewarding.  Great teachers and coaches do that. They provide the tools to make you feel like you can succeed while making an unfamiliar and daunting task much more doable.

Here, I will share the process taught to me with the tools shared.

Harvesting Concord Grapes

To the side of their house stands a trellis that supports a beautiful grape vine.  The sweet smell of the grapes filled my lungs, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace as I stepped under the vine.

They walked me through how to pull the grapes from their vine, which generously filled the 5-gallon bucket. They estimated this would produce 7 quarts of concord grape juice.

To prepare, I got the jars.

Image of grapes on a vine

Cleaning the Concord Grapes

To clean the concord grapes, I filled a cooler with clean, cool water and began pulling the grapes from the vines. Grape remnants and other debris floated to the surface of the water.

Once I felt the cooler was at its capacity, the grapes were removed from the cooler and placed into a metal bowl for a second wash. They were then rinsed in a metal colander to remove any final debris.

I used a cooler for the first rinse, but you could also use a metal bowl or any other large, clean container.

Image of grapes being washed
Starting the grape washing process
Image of grape debris from first and second wash
Grape debris from first and second wash
Image of clean grapes ready for juicing
Clean grapes ready for juicing

Juicing the Concord Grapes

My sweet neighbors asked if I knew how to juice the grapes, and of course I did not.

Have you seen the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where she stomps grapes? I wondered how I was going to accomplish this feat!

This is when they pulled out this magical juicing machine and showed me how to use it. My jaw dropped to the floor!

Image of a stainless steel steam juicer.
The juicing set-up.

Not only did this juicer extract the most beautiful juice, but it was also clean, quick, and very efficient.


This reinforced that having the right tool(s) reduces life’s pains and the time it takes to make a beautiful (and delicious) product.

Tools

Being a noob to canning, I did not have all these tools on hand. My neighbors saved the day and lent me some of these items.

If you are planning ahead, it might be worth purchasing these tools, so you have them available.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases

Mason jars

For jelly, I would recommend the 12oz Mason Jars. If you plan to use only the juice, I would suggest the 32oz Mason Jars.

12oz Mason Jars

32oz Mason Jars

Metal bowls

These metal bowls are great for more than just washing grapes!

Metal Colander

A metal colander is a great tool to have on hand for many food items.

Stainless Steel Steam Juicer

This steam juicer saved me so much time. It was so easy to use. Clean up was also a breeze.

Glass Baking Dishes

I used two glass baking dishes to collect the grape juice from the steam juicer. As I pulled one full dish away, I replaced it with the second dish to allow a steady flow.

Stock Pan

A large stock pan allowed me to collect all of the grape juice in one container. I highly recommend having something large to collect all of your grape juice.

Video of grapes being juiced.

How to Use the Steam Juicer for Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly

  1. Fill the base with distilled water to max fill line.
  2. Turn on stove and begin heating the water.
  3. Place the middle piece of the steam juicer on base. The middle piece has a distill hose.
  4. Add clean grapes to the top section of the metal steam juicer – this section has holes in it like a colander.
  5. Place the top section with grapes on top of the base and middle section of the steamer.
  6. Place the lid on top.
  7. Once it begins to boil, unclamp the hose and place in glass dish to collect the distilled grape juice.
  8. As the glass dish fills, lift the hose and transfer hose to the 2nd glass dish.
  9. Pour distilled grape juice from the first glass dish into large metal stock pan.
  10. Return glass dish to the counter to be ready for the hose transfer once the 2nd glass dish is full.
  11. Continue exchanging out glass dishes and pouring juice into stock pan until distilled grape juice production slows.
  12. Once production slows, turn off the stove burner.
  13. Place the top section of the metal steam juicer (section with holes) into a metal bowl to allow any additional grape juice to filter down via gravity.
  14. Add gravity dripped grape juice to the metal stock pan.

Now you have collected all your grape juice!

Image of grapes ready to be juiced in stainless steel steam juicer.
Images of clean grapes ready for juicing.
Image of grapes after they are juiced.
Image of grapes after they are juiced.

Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly – How To

Once I had all the grape juice safely collected in the stock pan, I needed to decide what to do with it.  I decided to keep 2 quarts as juice and make fridge or freezer grape jelly with the rest.

After reading that using pectin requires more sugar due to bitterness, I decided to go with gelatin for my first attempt at making grape jelly.

Image of jelly making process

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of concord grape juice
  • 3 cups sugar
    • Instead of sugar, you can use ½ as much Splenda or honey (1.5 cups) or 3 tsps. of liquid stevia
    • Adjust the amount of sugar/sweetener used based on the sweetness of your distilled grape juice and your preference.
  • 6 ½ tsp. gelatin

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the distilled grape juice and sugar or sweetener. Whisk.
  2. Slowly pour in the gelatin and continue whisking.
  3. Allow mixture to sit for one minute.
  4. Turn on stove heat to medium/low.
  5. Slowly whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar or sweetener and gelatin are dissolved. Typically wait about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove saucepan from stove.
  7. Fill 12oz glass jars, leaving 1 inch of space at the top.
    1. I didn’t have enough of the 12oz jars, so I ended up using several 32oz jars.
  8. Put a lid on the jars and refrigerate until fully gelled, at least 8 hours.
  9. Place in freezer for long-term storage.

How Long can Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly be Stored?

Homemade fridge to freezer grape jelly can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 year (1).

Image of jars of grape jelly ready for the fridge then the freezer.

Final Thoughts on Fridge to Freezer Grape Jelly

We now have several quarts and 12oz jars of fridge to freezer grape jelly.  The consistency is a little runny when you put it on toast. 

We have used it as a topper for pancakes and for our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

If I were to make this recipe again, I would add more gelatin so it would be a thicker product.

Overall, this was an incredible experience, and the flavor of the fridge to freezer grape jelly is delicious! I am so grateful for our wonderful neighbors for sharing this experience with me. I hope you enjoy your grape jelly process too!

For more information about The Dietitian Resource, visit our site or check out the blog.  Thanks for visiting!

References

1. Frequently Asked Jam and Jelly Questions. National Center for Home Food Preservation. [Online] 2022. [Cited: November 22, 2022.] https://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_jellied.html#7.

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More About Rochelle

Rochelle Inwood MS, RDN, ACSM EP-C

Hello there! I’m Rochelle Inwood, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C). With over 14 years of experience, I have sharpened my expertise through diverse roles, including weight management program co-coordinator, patient/employee gym supervisor, outpatient dietitian, program manager, dietetic internship preceptor, and more. I am passionate about learning, creating, teaching, and supporting personal growth and development.