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Pretty Quick Scuppernong Grape Jelly

Wash scuppernongs only when you’re ready to use them. The bloom on their skin—wild yeast—protects the grapes.

1½ cups


About 30 minutes active time, plus 1 hour to let the grape juice drip through a fine strainer


We are nearly delirious with desire for scuppernongs, the green-bronzey wine grapes of the Southeast, with their tough, leathery slip-skins and refreshing, vigorously sweet juice that holds traces of honeysuckle and musk. Maybe it’s the big hit of resveratrol (a bracing phyto-compound alleged to have health benefits) we get when we eat a bunch of them—more likely, though, it’s their complex, soaring sweetness throwing all our switches. Scuppernongs begin to ripen in the Deep South as early as late August and extend their season to mid-autumn in the higher elevations of North Carolina and Virginia. An old Southern tradition uses their skins to make grape skin pie.

We just like to make jelly.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a heavy nonreactive 2-quart saucepan; a fork or potato masher; a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp cheesecloth, a jelly bag, or a tamis; a large mixing bowl; a 2-cup liquid measuring cup; a small bowl; a whisk; and a clean, dry 12-ounce jar.

    • 3
      pounds ripe scuppernong grapes, washed

    • 3.5
      ounces (½ cup) sugar
    • ½
      teaspoon powdered pectin

    Pull the grapes from their stalks, discarding any that are obviously bruised or damaged, and transfer them to a heavy nonreactive 2-quart saucepan. Squeeze the grapes through your fingers, slipping off their skins. Lightly mash the pulp with a fork or potato masher. Set the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grape juices flow and begin to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.


    Set a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp cheesecloth, a jelly bag, or a tamis over a large mixing bowl and pour the grapes and juices through. Allow the juice to drip into the bowl without pressing on the grapes (which can make the juice cloudy), about 1 hour.


    When the pulp and skins lining the cheesecloth, jelly bag, or tamis look dry and no more juice drips, discard the pulp and skins and pour the juice into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (there should be 1½ cups). Cover and refrigerate until the juice is cold.


    Mix the sugar and pectin together in a small bowl. Turn the chilled grape juice back into the (clean) saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the sugar mixture into the grape juice and whisk vigorously. Return the juice to a simmer and simmer briskly for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if it suits you. Pour the mixture into a clean, dry 12-ounce jar. Let cool until tepid, cover, and refrigerate. The jelly will keep refrigerated for several weeks.