Not a recipe you’d associate with the Caribbean, as grapes are not native to the islands. However as a Trinbagonian who call Canada home and with an abundance of Concord grapes this time of the year (we live close to the grape growing region of Ontario – Niagara), you knew I’d put them to use. Please bear in mind that this “pepper” jelly is SPICY as you’d expect from any self respecting Caribbean son. Feel free to use any mild pepper or leave it out should you prefer just the Concord Grape Jelly.
4 cups Concord Grapes
3 cups white sugar
1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (finely chopped)
1 1/2 cups water
Notes. May I recommend watching the video below as I explain why I used water and the reason for straining out the juice to proceed with making the Concord Grape Jelly.
Place the grapes (washed) into a deep pot on a medium flame followed by the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn the stove off and go in with your potato mashed and crush if they’re still chunky. The next step is to strain everything to remove the seeds and skin. Be sure to press on the pulp in the strainer to get all of the juice.
The juice goes back into the pot on a medium flame along with the sugar (be sure to stir well). I then finely chop the Scotch Bonnet pepper which is then added to the pot to give it the “kick” I want.
Reduce to a simmer and the goal is to get a temp of 220 F or what’s called the gel stage. Yes it’s a lot of sugar, but you can cut back a bit should you want. No we didn’t add any pectin to the jelly.
It took about 25 minutes to get to the 220F. Then it’s just a matter of (be careful) pouring the Concord Grape Pepper Jelly into your sterilized glass containers and as it cools it will set and get to a lovely spreadable consistency.
I’m diabetic so most of this will be going to friends… do as I did and put some into small glass containers with a little ribbon and this holiday season give gifts from your kitchen. Store in the fridge for a longer shelf life (over 6 months). Additionally this Thanksgiving serve this instead of cranberry sauce or better yet, toss a 1/2 a cup of so into your cranberry sauce for that gentle kick with that lovely grape finish.