One thing that is constantly in my refrigerator and pantry are the makings of a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich.
When nothing else in the world sounds good, I can depend on a good ol’ PB&J to hit the spot and make the world seem right again. Maybe that comes from years of them being the only sandwich I wanted in my lunch box – from pre-K all the way through ninth grade. (As a 10th-grader, I discovered the pizza and salad bar.)
There were days that Mama would have made something different just to try and get me out of what I’m sure she thought was my PB&J sandwich rut, but those were miserable days.
Opening up a lunch box expecting my standard sandwich only to find a thermos of soup or a ham and cheese sandwich instead was a total letdown.
Those are the days I contemplated ditching my lunch box and going to the lunchroom ladies and asking for an emergency lunch where one of the options was always a school-made peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Although they weren’t as good as my homemade with Jif peanut butter and grape jelly, they were much closer to my standards than a thermos full of chicken and rice soup. At age 12, I’d take anything over chicken and rice soup.
Well, flash forward nearly 30 years and I’m faced with the same dilemma my Mama faced. I have a little boy who would prefer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to just about any other meal in the world. Seriously. If given an option, it’s his first choice more times than not.
So, my pantry stays stocked to feed his PB&J habit as well as my own.
Good ol’ delicious, grape jelly.
Homemade Grape Jelly Ingredients
I had all of the ingredients on hand:
- grape juice
and in about 30 minutes from start to finish, Little Buddy and I were tightening the tops on our jars of grape jelly he’d help make.
The recipe is simple.
Mix together grape juice and pectin and pour into the pot. Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add in the sugar, bring back to a hard boil and boil for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, skim away any foam and add to your jelly jars. Seal with appropriate lids and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
The next day, when I asked him what he wanted for lunch, he cocked his head to the side and gave me his half-grin and said, “Mama, today, let’s both have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the jelly I made.”
And you know what? They tasted better than any PB&J sandwich I remember eating in a long, long time.
Here’s my Grandmother’s Grape Jelly Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Grape Jelly Recipe
- 5 cups grape juice
- 1 1 3/4 ounce box pectin
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- Combine grape juice and pectin in a large stockpot, stirring well over medium heat.
- Bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add sugar and stir well. Bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into prepared jelly jars and seal with canning lids or store in the refrigerator or freezer.