Harvest And Process Simple Grape Jam At Home

Grape harvest time

Grape harvesting is one of the most important procedures for grapevine producers. Harvesting period for grapes, generally starts 30-70 days after fruit set, by the time berries change color from green to yellow (for white varieties), or red-purple (for red varieties). During this stage, we normally have an increase in sugars and a decrease in acids inside the fruits. In general, in the northern hemisphere, most varieties mature from August since November, while in the southern hemisphere from March to August.

However, it is not easy to define the right harvesting time for grapes. Environmental conditions, the soil type, the location of the variety, and the growing techniques play a crucial role in the quality of the final product. Producers harvest different types or varieties on different maturity stages, in order to achieve desired quality characteristics.

Grape harvest method

Brix method is universally used for determining fruit maturity, potential alcohol yield for wine varieties, and sugar content. In general, wine grape varieties are harvested at 12-24 degrees Brix, while table grape varieties are normally harvested at 12-20 degrees Brix. Seedless table varieties are harvested at 16-20 degrees Brix, while table grapes with seeds are normally harvested at around 13-14 degrees Brix.

Hand-harvesting of Grapes

In most cases, grapes are hand-harvested. Hand-harvesting is performed using knives and/or shears, either manual or electric. After whole bunches are cut, workers place them in collection baskets and transfer them to the winery (wine varieties) or to special warehouses (table grapes varieties). Table grape varieties can only be harvested by hand. They cannot be harvested mechanically, because they will be bruised. After harvested, table grapes are cooled and transferred to packaging warehouses.

Mechanical Harvest of Grapes.

This method is used exclusively for wine varieties. Sophisticated machines travel through the vineyard rows and use rubber or other materials to shake the vines so that the grapes will fall to a conveyor belt. Nevertheless, mechanical harvesting is not suitable in the case of grapes with very thin skin. In such a case, a great portion of grapes will surely break, something that may lead to oxidation and bacterial growth.
Grapes are sensitive fruits. Right after harvesting, producers try to transfer them as quickly as possible either to the packaging facilities (table grapes) or to the winery. For table grapes that need to be transported for long distances, refrigerator tractors are required.

Homemade Grape Jam – No Pectin

This homemade grape jam has just enough sugar, needs no pectin and makes a beautiful garnish for your toast, charcuterie board or even a PBJ.
You usually see grape jelly at the store more so than grape jam. Jelly is made with just the juice of the fruit. Sometimes you have no choice in the matter, like when you make pomegranate jelly.
But grapes have pulp and their skin is equally delicious in a jam. You can make grape jam with any kind of grapes, from green to red to purple.

Ingredients you need

  • Grapes: You can make jam with any color of grape (green, red, purple). It will be much easier to use seedless grapes.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar to sweeten the jam. You can also use honey or brown sugar to sweeten jam.
  • Lemon: The citric acid in lemon juice not only keeps the fruit from oxidizing, but it also adds natural pectin. No additional pectin is needed. For additional flavor, you can add grated lemon zest. You can also use orange juice/zest instead.

Step-by-step directions

1. Remove grapes from stem, wash clean and drain of excess water. Place in a pot.

Remove grapes from stem, wash clean and drain of excess water

2. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring to boil over moderate heat. Stir frequently and skim off the foam. Break down the fruit with a potato masher while it cooks.

Add sugar and lemon juice

3. Continue cooking until jam is thick about 30-45 minutes. To test jam, add a teaspoonful on a chilled plate and place in the refrigerator. Jam is done when it sets after a minute or two. If you want a smoother jam, use a hand blender and blend everything in the pot.
4. If you are canning the jam, you will need to sanitize the jars. This can be done by hand washing with hot water and soap or by running the jars through the dishwasher.

This can be done by hand washing with hot water and soap or by running the jars through the dishwasher

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