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The last of the grapes
Posted on: 13 November 2014

The last of my grapes are still hanging on the vine outside and seem to look at me rather reproachfully saying “do something with us before we fall off...”. It has been a bumper crop this year and much as I (and any neighbours willing take some) like grapes there is a limit to how many you can eat, especially since the variety which covers my pergola – providing much needed shade in summer – have quite a few pips and rather tough skins.  
     It seems that I shall just have to make another batch of grape and rosemary jelly which is a delicious alternative to redcurrant jelly to serve with lamb and also works well with cheese or added to sauces and gravy.
     Basically you need 2lb of grapes, half a pint of red wine, five or six good sized rosemary sprigs, lemon zest and juice of one lemon and 1lb of jam sugar.  Put the grapes, wine and rosemary into a large pan and add just enough water to cover the grapes. Add the lemon and bring to the boil stirring all the time. Lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes then mash the grapes with a potato masher and simmer for at least 10 minutes more until the mixture is soft and pulp like. Pour into a jelly bag and leave to drip through overnight. Measure the juice and return to the pan. For every pint of grape juice you need to add 1lb of jam sugar and the juice of one lemon (adjust the quantities accordingly if you have more or less than a pint of juice). Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and then boil vigorously for about 15 minutes or until you reach setting point. Pour into small sterilised jars, seal  (as with jam making) and store. The jelly lasts for at least a year.

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