I have always wanted to make grape jam. I once made cranberry jam. It was easy and came out fantastic. I had some cranberries from a neighbor and made the jam with the free berries. I have not had free cranberries since. I will need to find a source for free or reduced cranberries this year, if I want to make additional jam. It should not be too difficult since I live around many bogs.
Getting back to the grape jam. I harvested about 3 pounds of wild grapes for my jam. I searched to web for an easy recipe but found most contained pectin. I did not want to buy pectin and knew that I could make them without the added ingredient. I stumbled onto the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp) and found directions on how to make the jam. They have recipes with pectin and without. The process only took about and hour and a half to complete the jam. This included washing, sterilizing, cooking the grapes and the water bath. When I was finished I had 5 half pints of jam.
Having accomplished this, I feel quite proud of myself! I know there are many people who can 100's of jars each year but I have only done this one other time. I thought it would be very time consuming but found that I could do other things while the pints were in the water bath and multiple steps could be done at the same time (sterilizing the jars and boiling down the grapes). Will I do this again? You bet! Next time, I will start a little earlier in the season collecting my grapes, so the birds don't eat them all. Maybe next year my cultivated vine will produce some grapes which will add to my harvest.
This year I still have apples to think about. My daughter works at a pick-your-own apple orchard. I will have her ask about drops. If I can get a large crate of drops for a low price, I may make some applesauce to can and also freeze apples for my Thanksgiving pies.
My in-laws have about 30 eating pumpkins that they will split amongst the family. I wonder what I can do with those? Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin puree...