My good friend Caren spent a few years here in Cambridge studying for her PhD, before returning to Israel. We were all sad to see her go, but on the plus side, we can now visit her in her gorgeous beachside apartment, and admire the incredible view over the Mediterranean, usually while eating something delicious that she’s obtained for us to enjoy.
As well as being in-the-know when it comes to Israel’s best chefs, restaurants, markets etc., Caren also seems to have a great many friends who are extremely talented in the kitchen. Usually she offers us some treat or other that was home-made by someone she knows. Yum.
Last time we visited, she gave me a jar of grape jam. I’d never had grape jam before but quickly became addicted! Soft set, sweet and almost spicy, it had a golden colour, a gorgeous honeyed flavour and an almost syrupy texture. I ate it on toast for breakfast, dolloped it over yogurt, and just occasionally, spooned it directly into my mouth 😀
It had been my intention to try and make some of this gorgeous preserve when I got home, but with one thing and another I completely forgot about it for months and months, until the day that I bought a huge punnet of green grapes despite already having a huge punnet of green grapes in the fridge. Oops. In trying to think of a way to use them, I remembered the delicious grape jam and decided to have a go at making it myself.
Grapes are pretty high in sugar, so this jam is really very sweet. According to the Internet, grapes are also high in pectin, but I’m not convinced – my jam took a long time to reach setting point, and it’s still pretty soft even now. I imagine it varies with different types of grapes. In any case the original jam was quite soft so I’m not too bothered by the set of this one.
I used a combination of white and brown sugar to bring out the honeyed spiciness of the flavour, and it really is delicious! I’m looking forward to eating this on top of all sorts of things. Mmmm.
Bursting with sweetness, this jam would make a beautiful and unusual Rosh Hashanah gift for a loved one. A pretty jar and some fancy labels – who could resist?!
This made four jars of delicious golden grape jam.
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- 1kg green grapes (Approx 925g without stalks)
- 600g caster sugar
- 300g brown sugar
- 4 sterilised jam jars
- Wash the grapes, remove any stalks, and place in a large heavy-based pan on a low heat. Cook gently for 10 minutes
- Mix the caster sugar and brown sugar together, then add half to the grapes in the pan. Continue to cook, stirring, for another 10 minutes. Mash the softened grapes with a potato masher to squash them.
- Add the remaining sugar, stir well, and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 25-30 minutes until you reach the setting point (see below) - remember that this jam may only ever achieve a soft set.
- Remove from the heat and leave to stand for around 10 minutes, then gently stir in any bubbles. Carefully transfer the jam into the sterilised jars, screw on the lids and leave to cool. The jam will be extremely hot so it may take a few hours before the jars are fully cooled.
- Once cool, wipe any drips from the outside of the jars and label them. Enjoy!
- Place a few saucers in the freezer before you start cooking the jam. When you're ready to test, remove a saucer from the freezer. Spoon about a teaspoonful of hot jam onto the saucer and wait for a few seconds. Run your finger through the jam - if it wrinkles, it's done! If the jam is not quite ready, cook for a few minutes more and repeat the 'saucer test' until you're happy that the jam is set to your liking.