Easy recipe for grape jam made without pectin with variations for different types of grapes. Great morning preserve with a toast or use as a sweet topping for breakfast pancakes, porridge or oatmeal.
Grapes have naturally enough pectin, which means we don’t need to use any additional pectin or special pectin high sugar in this recipe.
This makes this homemade grape jam a very budget-friendly recipe, especially if you buy grapes close to their sell-by date in the reduced section of your supermarket or happen to be given grapes by your friend.
So, today, I wanted to share with you my favourite recipe for my homemade grape jam without pectin.
You can use any kind of grapes for this recipe, but depending on what type you use, you might need to use slightly different amount of sugar and lemon (check out the ingredients section for more detailed information)
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Why make this grape jam recipe ?
- Can be made any time of the year
- Easy recipe to make
- Perfect as a gift – you won’t find it in the supermarket!
Jam making equipment
- Large pan or a saucepan
- Mixing spoon or a wooden mixing spoon
- Potato masher or a stick blender
- Sieve (if using grapes with seeds)
- Jam thermometer (optional – I didn’t use it for this recipe)
- Small plates (kept in the fridge for testing the jam later)
- sterilised jam jars with lids
Type of grapes best for grape jam recipe
You can use any kind of grapes for this jam recipe. But unlike many other types of fruit, grapes do wary in how much sugar they have depending on the type. This means that you might need to amend the recipe amount of sugar, lemon and the length of boiling to make sure you get the perfect jam set and flavour.
Red Grapes (sold in supermarkets)
I’ve tested this recipe on dark red seedless grapes and the jam can be on the slightly sweet side, which is why you’ll see that there is slightly less sugar than regular jam recipes which normally have sugar equivalent of 1/2 of the total weight of the fruit.
If you are using something like Sable Grapes, which are very sweet, I would add even less sugar than my recipe – say 150-170 grams (like 1/3 of the total amount of the fruit).
Green Grapes (sold in supermarkets)
Green grapes contain slightly less sugar than red grapes, so they are perfect for achieving a lovely zingy flavoured jam. When I make this version of my jam, I keep the sugar and lemon amount the same and I just end up with great jam with a sharper flavour.
Red Wine grapes (or wild red grapes)
These are very likely to have seeds, so you will need to use a fine sieve to push them through (when they soften by being simmered in a boiling water for about 5 min).
Green Wine grapes (or wild green grapes)
If you are using non-ripened green grapes, I’d recommend increasing the amount of sugar. Anything from 1/2 to 1:1 ratio might be needed to achieve a good flavoured jam. For instance using for 500 grams of unripped grapes you might need anything from 250-500 grams of sugar.
Shall I use seedless or regular grapes for this recipe?
Either seeded or seedless grapes will be fine for this recipe.
If you use seedless grapes (usually from supermarket or your local greengrocer) you only need to mash the grapes or blitz them with a blender stick and keep them all.
If you are using seeded grapes, mash them with a potato masher when they soften (after about 3-5 min) of simering on a medium heat. Press them through a fine sieve.
If you can (or want to) keep the grapes skin, but discard all the pips). The grapes skin contains natural pectin, which helps to set the jam. If you don’t want to pick over the grapes skin from the pips, you might achieve slightly runnier jam (or boil it for a bit longer to achieve a firmer set).
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A few notes on the rest of the grape jam ingredients
You’ll notice that I’ve used basic granulated sugar in this recipe and this is because grapes have plenty of pectin in already, so you don’t need to spend your money on fancy marmalade or jam sugars.
If you already have one in the cupboard, don’t worry, just use it and your grape jam will set slightly quicker and firmer.
It’s best to use white sugar for this recipe as any brown, dark, coconut sugars or any of the coconut sugar substitutes will change the flavour of this grape jam to much.
If you want to know more about what type of sugar to use, you can refer to my Marmalade Making Tips Guide which covers this topic really well.
Some grapes, especially red or darker grapes have quite a mild flavour, which can be improved by adding lemon juice to the jam. I like quite sharp lemony flavours, so I often increase the amount of lemon juice.
This is completely personal taste, the recipe will work even if you don’t use any lemon.
Additional flavouring – spices, alcohol
If the delicious flavour of grapes isn’t enough, you could always add in complimenting spice (such as cloves, aniseed, cinnamon, nutmeg or mixed spice) or add a dash of whisky or rum.
Make your recipe as described and add any flavouring after you’ve tested the jam for setting and you are ready to pour it into your jam jars.
Alcohol evaporates around 70C, so leave the grape jam to cool down for a bit before you add any (to allow for the alcohol flavour to come through).
Grape Jam – Flavour suggestions
Green Grapes & Gin Marmalade – add 1-2 tablespoons of gin to the jam just before potting up, use extra lemon juice to add more zing to the flavour
Spiced Grapes Jam – add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice (aniseed, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg etc.) just before potting up. You can also use seasonal spice mix depending on the time of the year.
Red Grapes & Rum Marmalade – add 1-2 tablespoon of rum to the jam just before potting up
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How to make grapes jam at home
STEP 1 – Prepare the grapes
Wash grapes first and take them from the stalks.
STEP 2 – Add everything to a large saucepan
Put the grapes into a large saucepan and a few tablespoons of water or juice – just enough so that they don’t burn from the bottom.
STEP 3 – Simmer the fruit to soften
Simmer on very low heat for few minutes to soften the grapes first.
Squish them with a potato masher.
If you are using grapes with seeds, push the grapes through a fine sieve. Try to get rid of the pips, but keep the grapes skin if you can as they contain natural pectin and will help to set your jam later on.
If you want to get a very smooth finish, you can also use a stick blender at this stage (be careful as you do this as the jam mixture might be hot!)
Measure out 500 grams of the grapes mixture (or 2 cups). If you don’t have enough, add more fruit juice to make up the amount. If you have slightly more, it’s fine too.
STEP 4 – Dissolve the sugar & add lemon juice
Squeeze juice from the lemon and add it to the jam mixture.
Add the sugar to the jam and let it to warm up slowly and dissolve on very low heat. Don’t allow the jam to bubble before the sugar has dissolved (as this can cause re-crystallisation of your sugar)
STEP 5 – Boil your grape jam
Bring the saucepan to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes
STEP 6 – Test your grape jam
Place a couple of small plates in a freezer or a fridge, before you start making your grape jam.
To make sure that your jam sets when you pour it, you need to test it first. Take the whole saucepan off the heat, put a spoonful of the jam on the cold plate and place in the fridge for 5 minutes. Then test it with your finger.
If the jam wrinkles when you push it sideways, it’s done. If the jam is runny or doesn’t wrinkle easily, bring the whole pot back to the boil and continue boiling for another 5 minutes. Test again.
The jam can be on a slightly runny side as it will take about 24 hrs to set properly. If you get a very firm set at this stage, the grape jam will set very firmly and might not be spreadable.
When your ‘wrinkle test’ comes up positive, take the pot off the heat, wait a few minutes and then add any flavours you were going to use.
If you need to troubleshoot runny grape jam, you can follow the same step by step tips for how to set marmalade to help you to fix this problem.
STEP 7 – Add any additional flavours
This is optional, but you can add any warming spices such as cinnamon, mixed spice or cloves and brandy, whisky or gin to compliment the flavour of the grapes.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of alcohol if using and about 1/2 teaspoon of the spices. Taste it very carefully, leaving to cool down a bit and add more if needed.
STEP 8 – Pour
Pour into sterilised jam jars or other glass containers, seal immediately and let to cool down.
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How to store your homemade grape jam & shelflife
If you’ve prepared your jam jars correctly (e.g. sterilised, airtight seal etc.) your jam will last a minimum of 12 months (and we have kept some for up to 2 years and they were fine).
You can also pour the jam into any other suitable container with a lid and keep it in the fridge if you don’t have proper jam jars with sealed lids. Any heat proof, sturdy plastic container can be used or even a cereal bowl.
Keep jam in the fridge if it’s not properly sealed in a jam jar.
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Grape Jam (without pectin)
- large saucepan
- potato masher or stick blender
- wooden spoon
- small plates cool down in the fridge to test the jam later
- large jam jar or two small ones
- 500 grams grapes one tub or very large grape equivalent to about 4 cups – 2 cups when heated & mashed
- 200 grams white sugar 1 cup – less or more depending on the type of grapes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons water or fruit juice grape, orange, raspberry etc
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon warming spice optional aniseed, cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger etc
- pinch of salt optional if you have very sweet or bland grapes
- Wash grapes first and take them from the stalks.
- Put the grapes into a large saucepan and a few tablespoons of water or juice – just enough so that they don’t burn from the bottom.
- Simmer on very low heat for few minutes to soften the grapes first.
- Squish them with a potato masher.
- If you are using grapes with seeds, push the grapes through a fine sieve. Try to get rid of the pips, but keep the grapes skin if you can as they contain natural pectin and will help to set your jam later on.
- If you want to get a very smooth finish, you can also use a stick blender at this stage (be careful as you do this as the jam mixture might be hot!)
- Measure out 500 grams of the grapes mixture (or 2 cups). If you don’t have enough, add more fruit juice to make up the amount. If you have slightly more, it’s fine too.
- Squeeze juice from the lemon and add it to the jam mixture.
- Add the sugar to the jam and let it to warm up slowly and dissolve on very low heat. Don’t allow the jam to bubble before the sugar has dissolved (as this can cause re-crystallisation of your sugar)
- Bring the saucepan to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes
- Test the grape jam for a good set by doing the wrinkle test (add a small amount of the jam on a cold plate and if the jam sets, the whole mixture is ready).
- If the test jam is still runny after about 5 minutes, bring the whole mixture to a boil again and continue boiling for another 5 minutes, depending on how runny the grape jam was, when you test it. The jam can be on a slightly runny side as it will take about 24 hrs to set properly. If you get a very firm set at this stage, the grape jam will set very firmly and might not be spreadable.
- Add any spices, more lemon or other flavouring to your grape jam and adjust it to your taste.
- Pour the grape jam into prepared jam jars, seal and leave to cool down completely, before storing it somewhere cold and dry.
This blog post was originally written on 18 May 2022 and last updated on 21 November 2022