Over the years, I’ve eaten many types of homemade jelly (most of which made by my mama), including scuppernong jelly. But last week was the first time I’d made it myself.
Growing up, we used the words “scuppernong” and “muscadine” interchangeably. But the scuppernong is actually a variety of muscadine. (Just FYI, where I grew up in Mississippi, we pronounced it “scuppah-nong.”) They are both a kind of wild grape.
When we moved into our house last year, I noticed the vine growing around a fence and oak tree on the side of our house. Months and months went by, and we noticed the fruit begin to form. The boys would pick them once in a while, but the scuppernongs were tough, hard, and green. Then last Sunday, Woodrow and Garfield brought in a handful of these wild grapes to show me how they’d grown golden and tender. It was right after supper, but we still had plenty of daylight; so we went outside and picked a few pints. We found a recipe to make jelly with these fruits (I had a container of pectin that Mama had given me over a year before, but it was still usable, and we would need it). I measured how much we’d picked; we didn’t have quite enough, so we went out to the yard and picked more.
I wanted to start the jelly that night, after the boys went to bed. But they expressed so much disappointment about this plan that I waited until the next day to get going.
The next morning, the boys and I spent a few hours in the kitchen working on this jelly: cooking the grapes with water, pressing them with a potato masher, straining the juice from the pulp. Then mixing juice with the pectin and sugar at just the right time.
I have to say…I’m willing to try almost any project but don’t always feel so confident that the end result will be successful. There were moments when I thought, as we labored over this jelly, “This is not going to work out.” And yet, victory!
The jelly tastes sweet but not too sweet, tangy but not too tart. We ate it on biscuits (cat head biscuits, to be exact) with homemade tomato soup for supper that night. I could not be happier with how it turned out!
We got more or less 2 quarts of jelly. I don’t know if the jar on the left is an actual quart jar–it’s repurposed from a jar of mandarin orange slices I bought from the store. I didn’t actually can the jelly–these jars are not sealed and ready to be stored in a pantry for months to be eaten through winter. These just go in the fridge and will be eaten in several weeks.
Each year, I keep a list of new things I’ve tried during that particular 365-day time period. This jelly adventure will surely go on the list!