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Homemade Basil Grape Jelly Using Grape Juice

Kari Spencer is a Master Gardener volunteer and a local gardening and homesteading speaker.

Jars of delicious grape jelly—with a twist.

Jars of delicious grape jelly—with a twist.

Grape Jelly With a Twist

If you love grape jelly—or even if you could take it or leave it—give this recipe a try. Not your average ho-hum partner to peanut butter, this jelly has a depth of flavor provided by a few key secret ingredients, revealed here.

Tart and sweet, your favorite purple grape juice provides a base for the recipe; there's no need to grow, peel, crush, or blanch any fruit. Choose high-quality juice. The higher the juice quality, the better the jelly flavor! I prefer an organic juice with no added sugar, but any grape juice will do.

Simple, delicious, and foolproof, this jelly is wonderful for a lazy weekend morning, and it makes a unique gift that's fun both to make and to give!

Sterilize containers just prior to making your jelly.

Sterilize containers just prior to making your jelly.

Container Preparation

This recipe makes about 4 half-pint jars, or twice as many 4-ounce jelly jars. You could also pour this jelly into pretty, clear glasses, sealed with household wax. Whatever containers you decide to use, be sure to sterilize them in advance in boiling water or in the dishwasher on anti-bacterial setting. Sterilize the jars, as well as the lids and rings.

  • If you boil them on the stove, leave the empty jars in the hot water until you are ready to fill them so that the jars will remain hot.
  • If you sterilize them in the dishwasher, use the "heated dry" setting so that the jars will stay hot.

While the jars are being sterilized, prepare your jelly.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (or Thai basil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups pure cane sugar (I prefer raw sugar)
  • 3 1/2 cups purple grape juice
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
  • Paraffin wax (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Steep the Herbs and Spices

The flavor of basil and cardamom is delicious, but they cannot be added directly to grape jelly or the gritty, chewy pieces ruin the smooth texture. Basil and cardamom flavor can be added to your recipe indirectly by steeping them to draw out and capture their essence in a liquid form. The solid stems, leaves, and pieces can be discarded.

  1. Pour boiling water over basil and cardamom in a saucepan and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the herb brew into a 4-quart saucepan through a fine strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Discard the herbs.
  3. Reserve the fragrant liquid in the saucepan for use in your recipe.

Step 2: Make the Jelly

  1. Add grape juice and sugar to the herb water in the saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
  2. Stir in the liquid pectin and return the mixture to boiling. Boil rapidly for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and skim off the foam that will collect on top.

Note: The foam can be reduced by adding 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the saucepan prior to pouring in the pectin. Butter is completely optional and does not change the flavor or texture of the jelly.

Step 3: Fill the Jars

  1. Pour the jelly into hot, sterilized containers. Use a wide-mouth funnel to prevent sticky drips from running down the exterior of the jars. Seal with lids or paraffin.
  2. To seal with paraffin wax, allow the jelly to cool for several hours. Then melt the wax slowly over low heat. Paraffin is flammable, so keep your eyes on it at all times. When the wax is completely melted, pour 1/4 inch of the liquid wax directly on top of the jelly in each container.

Note: If jelly does not set, pour it back into the saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute before returning it to the jars.

Photo Tutorial

Strain the herb brew into a saucepan.

Strain the herb brew into a saucepan.

Skim off pectin foam from the top of the liquid.

Skim off pectin foam from the top of the liquid.

Use a wide-mouth funnel to aid filling the jars.

Use a wide-mouth funnel to aid filling the jars.

How to Store the Jelly

Store jelly in the refrigerator and use within 3 months.

I would love to hear from you. Leave your important comments and questions below.

New Guestbook Comments

goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on January 21, 2013:

Looks like it would be worth a try!

WhyCleanCounts on June 28, 2012:

Would love to try this. I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of urban agriculture.

Kristen from Wisconsin on June 27, 2012:

This sounds super tasty! Great lens!

Lori Green from Las Vegas on June 27, 2012:

This was the first jelly I ever made

John Tannahill from Somewhere in England on June 26, 2012:

I've never had grape jelly but it sounds good the way you describe it.

mdfroze on June 18, 2012:

wow,

grep jelly, i am gonna try this......

OrganicMom247 on June 15, 2012:

I would love to try this.

Cathy Slaght from St. Petersburg, Fl on June 12, 2012:

used to be one of my dreams- to have a small farm- good for you!

EEWorkouts on June 11, 2012:

My mom's apple cinnamon is like pie filling and sought after. Never tried jelly with basil, sounds interesting.

orange3 lm on June 06, 2012:

This sounds so good! Thanks for the recipe :)

Jeanette from Australia on May 31, 2012:

This looks really yummy. Might have to try it!

pawpaw911 on May 31, 2012:

Sounds interesting. We tried making grape jelly from homegrown grapes, but it didn't come out too well. This certainly sounds good.

natashaely on May 24, 2012:

Nice and straight forward which is how I like it. I love the look of this and will be adding it to my list of things to make :)

Rose Jones on May 21, 2012:

@NTxWriter: Send some of that basil my way for pesto!

Rose Jones on May 21, 2012:

Sounds fantastic! Pinned to my cooking and food board.

Paul Turner from Birmingham, Al. on May 21, 2012:

Mmmm, Jelly. Where's the peanut butter? :)

microfarmproject (author) on May 21, 2012:

@Sylvestermouse: Thanks! We grow grapes, but they always get eaten before I have a chance to make jelly. This way is easier, too :)

microfarmproject (author) on May 21, 2012:

@tvyps: Yes, I am. I have a small "farm," right in the middle of the city. You?

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on May 21, 2012:

Looks great! Are you in the Phoenix Valley? Squid Angel blessed.

NTxWriter on May 17, 2012:

this looks delicious! I'm always looking for more ways to use the ample supply of basil I get here in north Texas.

JoshK47 on May 15, 2012:

Sounds pretty tasty to me - I always love the nice herb flavor basil brings to the party.

trendydad on May 14, 2012:

nice lens on homemade jelly

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on May 14, 2012:

What a lovely idea! I love homemade jelly and I have never considered using grape juice. What a great idea!

biminibahamas on May 11, 2012:

Sounds delicious!