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« Moving to the country | Main | Homemade meat jerky »

Concord grape jelly sugar free

Last year was very challenging from a food perspective. I sought help from my eastern medicine doctor when gastrointestinal issues had worsened to produce symptoms similar to what I was experiencing 9 years ago that were resolved by eliminating gluten from my diet. Of the many things that were removed from my diet temporarily last year, sugar in most formats (including honey, maple, many fruits) proved to be the most challenging. This sugar free jelly was born from this time and might serve others who must cut out sugar entirely for medical or general wellness reasons.

I made a really small batch to test the pectin level and consistency with a little of my reserved juice, but have upped the recipe to reflect a full batch. Do not double this recipe, make it twice if you have more juice. This recipe uses Pomona’s Pectin and I have not reformulated to use other brands (that do not utilize calcium water as does Pomona’s to achieve a low- or no-sugar set). Please let me know if you try it with another no-sugar pectin brand, as I do not have plans to do so.

Sugar-free concord grape jelly

yields approximately 9 4-oz jars

1. Make juice by mashing stemmed concord grapes a cup at a time as you add them to a saucepan with a lid over medium heat. Approximately 3lbs of concords will yield between 3-4 cups juice. Slice thinly (seeds and all) one medium-sized underripe or just ripe apple. Once all the grapes are mashed, scatter the apple over the top of the mash and bring to a boil. Place lid over the pan and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Strain juice through a jelly bag, then refrigerate juice overnight so the tartaric acid crystals form and settle at the bottom of the bowl.

3. The next day, pour juice through a fine wire mesh strainer and measure 3.75 cups concord grape juice. Add 3 tsp Pomona’s calcium water and bring to a boil in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot while you prepare your pectin.

4. In a separate saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Remove water from heat and pour it directly into a blender or food processor. While pulsing the blender or food processor add 3 tsp Pomona’s dry pectin powder and turn on the machine to evenly distribute it very quickly.

5. Add hot pectin mixture to the boiling juice and stir well to incorporate and dissolve the pectin mixture. Return the juice mixture to a boil and then remove from heat. Process immediately in quarter pint or half pint jars with 1/2” headspace for 10 minutes in a waterbath canner.  

This jelly has a tart edge to it without any sweetener, but the pure concord flavor shines and really made my morning toast special again in my sugar-free days.

Reader Comments (9)

I'm making apple jelly last week followed the directions on the pectin box, the jelly won't set up. I have already had to dump the first batch back in the pot boil it again for 4 minutes and add another box of pectin this time it did set up. So what am I doing wrong it should have set up the first time?Maybe it is harder for apple jelly to set up because we are using the peels and core to make the jelly? Thanks for your help Ellen

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Peavey

Hey Ellen, not knowing which brand of pectin you're using (processes for each can be different) I can't offer any advice. Apple jelly should be relatively easy to get a set (even without adding pectin) since apples are so high in pectin naturally and cores/peels have more of it. I recommend the frozen spoon test that I've detailed in the appendix of my kitchen book, since that's a surefire way to know what your jelly/jam will be like consistency wise once it cools.

October 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterKate

Since only the juice of the grapes are used, will bottled concord grape juice work in place of the grapes? Concord grapes are not available in my area.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Hey Sam, I think a bottled juice would work well, though some brands have sweetener of some sort and are watered down a bit, so I'd try to get one like the Lakewood brand (unsweetened, not from concentrate) and be sure you like the flavor of the juice before turning it into jelly! I would love to hear how it goes for you.

October 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterKate

I had some trouble with Pomona's last year. My grape jelly was too thick. Maybe I cooked it too long? Have you had that happen?

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenn B

Hey Jenn, yes, I've had issues with Pomona's in the past and learned from Marisa (of, who met with the Pomona's founder, that they prefer a really firm set and have written their recipes accordingly. They do encourage testing pectin amounts with a super small batch before doing a larger batch to make sure you're happy with the set. The recipe I included above reduces the amount of pectin and produced the nice wiggly and looser set that I like.

October 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterKate

Thanks Kate! I'm going to give it a try!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenn B

Nice recipe. Looking so delicious and healthy also. I love to get new recipes and want to try this.
For healthy living a daily diet plays an important role. To get healthy and fit a proper and balanced, diet is necessary.
Your article is very nice, I had fun reading this and many great insights here.
Thanks for sharing an excellent article.

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHealthy living magazine

is it ok to add a little lemon juice for extra tartness

November 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermuscadine

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