We tend to think of summer as the preserving season, but don't put away the canning supplies yet. Autumn brings one of the all-time best ingredients for jelly making: Concord grapes! Concord grapes grow in the northern regions of the US and are more likely to be found at farmers' markets than supermarkets, as many consumers find their large seeds undesirable. This is a real shame, for Concords have a full-bodied, classically grape-y flavor and their sweet-tart balance is just right for making jelly.
As a Southern California resident, I'm always thrilled if I'm able to visit one of the northern states during autumn, and I keep my eyes peeled for these special grapes. This year I was lucky enough to be visiting relatives in Minnesota on the day they were harvesting from their backyard vines. Straining out the seeds to make jelly was a bit time-consuming but well worth the effort for this deeply flavored treat. And the color – oh, the color! The dark purple juice stained our fingers and kitchen cloths, but it was so lovely we didn't mind a bit.
• How to Make Homemade Grape Jelly (PickYourOwn.org)
• Concord Grape Jam (Gourmet)
• Concord Grape Jam Tart (Martha Stewart)
Are you making Concord grape preserves this fall? Or do you have another favorite use for Concords?
Related: Recipe Roundup: Concord Grapes
(Images: Emily Ho)