Concord Grape Preserves {no pectin recipe}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Jams, Jellies, Preserves
Serves: Approximately 8 half pints
  • About 5 pounds of concord grapes, stems removed, washed, and drained
  • About 6 cups of sugar [see details of recipe to decide how much sugar to use]
  • 1 tart apple
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Place the washed grapes in a 5 quart, heavy stock pot or dutch oven, and mash thoroughly with a potato masher or heavy spoon.
  2. Cut the apple into eights, leaving the skin and seeds intact [you want those, because they contain natural pectin]
  3. Turn the burner to medium, and bring the fruit up to a medium simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking.
  4. You need to stir this fairly often over the next 25 to 30 minutes - simmer until the apple is very soft.
  5. Remove from the heat, and a few cups at a time, run the mixture though a food mill, or push through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the seeds and skins. Try to get as much liquidy pulp through as you can.
  6. Measure the liquid - 5 pounds of grapes should yield about 8 cups of juice.
  7. Rinse out the dutch oven, and return the liquid to it.
  8. cups of sugar is the proper amount for 8 cups of liquid - if you have more or less, adjust the amount up or down a bit - about ¾ cup of sugar per cup of juice.
  9. Dump the sugar in the pot, and return it to a medium high heat.
  10. Stir constantly, until you can feel that the sugar has dissolved, and then very frequently, as the mixture returns to a simmer.
  11. Lower the heat slightly, and cook for about 20 minutes. If you want to stand right there, stirring constantly, the heat can be higher, and the time shorter,but I'm usually puttering around with other stuff in the kitchen, so I turn it down enough that I only have to stir it every 5 minutes or so.
  12. After 20 minutes, test the temperature with an instant read thermometer - you are shooting for between 215 to 218 degrees. If you don't have an instant read thermometer, you can put a small plate in the freezer, and test a small amount of the preserve on it - it should be fairly firm when you push it with your fingertip after a minute.
  13. If the temperature isn't high enough yet, simmer it for additional 5 minute increments until it is up to the proper temperature. There are so many variables to the grapes, the altitude where you live, exactly how high you have the heat under the pot - so it's impossible for me to give you an exact amount of time. Just keep cooking it, and testing it until it's where it should be.
  14. When it is up to temperature, add the juice of the 2 lemons, and the salt, stir thoroughly, and return to a simmer for another 5 minutes.
  15. The preserves are done at this point - ready for canning, or storage in the fridge. They will keep for a year if canned, and for several months in the fridge. It makes about 7 or 8 half pint jars, which is too much for us to eat in just a few months, so I can it. I give instruction for canning preserves in other recipes, and you can find those here and here.
Recipe by The Creekside Cook at