Oh, how I love the August farmer's market! Ok, I really love all of the months of the farmer's market. But the beginnings of apples, pears, especially our favorite Asian pears, and grapes, coupled with the end of the peaches, beans, and tomatoes. The bounty is ripe and I have a hard time not buying more than we can consume, or put up, in a week.
This weekend the muscadines were calling my name. If you haven't heard of muscadines, you are not alone. They only grow in the southeast and a few parts of the midwest. Even on the coast of SC where I grew up, I don't remember ever seeing muscadines. In fact, I was probably an adult the first time I tried one. They have become a part of the late August farmer's market for me now though. I usually wade my way through eating a pint each year, which can be quite a chore with the thick skins and large seeds, much like trying to eat a fresh Concord grape. After my lone pint, I'm happy to limit my muscadine consumption to an autumn bottle of muscadine wine.
This year I decided to try my hand at making muscadine jelly. Like most jellies, this is a multi-step process and not as quick and tidy as making strawberry jam, but my mouth is almost watering at the thought of some sweet and tangy muscadine jelly on my next dinner roll.
And I inaugurated the food mill Paul bought me for my birthday. It's quite a handy little kitchen tool.
Once I had as much juice as I could squeeze from the skins and pulp,
I poured the juice through a loose-weave napkin. (I don't own a jelly bag, and I'm not sure I'll make enough jelly to make the purchase worthwhile.) This method seemed to work quite well. I left the napkin strainer to do it's job for about an hour to make sure I got as much juice as possible.
As for the canning, I use the Pomona pectin, so I followed the concord grape jelly recipe in the box of pectin. I had slightly more than 2 cups of muscadine juice and after the addition of the necessary lemon juice, pectin, 3/4 cup of sugar, etc, I had 3 half-pint jars of muscadine jelly. I processed 2 of the jars for later in the winter and the other will go straight into my fridge once it's cool.
Warm yeasty rolls with muscadine jelly for dinner anyone?