Muscadine Jelly

I grew up eating homemade muscadine jelly on hot buttered biscuits in the mornings or even as the J in my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Muscadine jelly definitely is delicious. It tastes similar to grape jelly, but with a bit more tartness.

You may want to read about my love of muscadines. Then you’ll understand why I’m so picky about my recipe for making jelly.

No wasting these babies.

I really think it may be considered a sin in the south if you don’t use your muscadines.

Well, at least it is in my family.

I bet someone would stage an intervention.

But no need. I’m on it. I love them too much to let them waste away.

So here’s how we make our muscadine jelly.

Pick through your muscadines and make sure you remove any stems or blemished fruit. Wash them well and then place into a large stockpot. You’ll need about 5 pounds of muscadines to produce about 5 cups of juice. Don’t make double batches, it just never turns out right.

Cover the muscadines with water and place on cooktop.

Cover the muscadines with water and place on cooktop.

While muscadines are beginning to simmer, mash them with a potato masher. Continue to mash and mash and mash as they cook for about 15 minutes.

This is where you can really work out any frustrations you might have had during the day.

It’s like free therapy.

And there is nothing wrong with a little free therapy every now and then.

Pour the cooked muscadines through a strainer into another large stockpot. You get to mash it a little bit more to make sure you get all of that yummy juice that you can.

Bring muscadine juice to a rolling boil,  for 5 minutes, then reduce to simmer.

Add pectin to the juice and stir until well-dissolved.

Add sugar when juice reaches a boil. Allow to reach a hard boil, about 220 F, for about 1 minute, stirring to prevent burning. Test to be sure your juice has “jellied” per the pectin packaging directions. If it has not “jellied” add a bit more pectin, stirring constantly to prevent lumping. Normally, I keep another box of pectin on hand just in case I need to add a bit more.

While you are cooking the juice, go ahead sterilize your jars in another pan of water. This takes about 10 minutes.

And now skim the film off of the top of your jars.

Screw the lid on the jar and place back into a pan of water that covers the top of the jars. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Remove from water, dry it off and get ready to enjoy  with some warm buttermilk biscuits in the morning.

You’ll need the following when making your jelly.

  • 12 8 ounce jars with lids and rings or 6 pint jars with lids and rings
  • 1 strainer
  • 2 large stockpots
  • 1 potato masher
Yield: 12 eight ounce jars or 6 pint jars

Muscadine Jelly

Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
A recipe for the Southern classic muscadine jelly.
4.63 from 16 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients

  • 5 cups fresh muscadines juice about 5 pounds of muscadines
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 1.75 ounce package of pectin or 8 tablespoons if using bulk pectin + 1 spare box, to use if needed

Directions

  1. Wash muscadines, place in a stockpot and add just enough water to cover the muscadines.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a full boil. (As muscadines begin to heat, start mashing them with a potato masher.)
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, continuing to mash muscadines.
  4. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a strainer into a large stockpot.
  5. Place stockpot over medium heat and bring to a full rolling boil that does not stop bubbling when stirred, about 5 minutes. Reduce to simmer.
  6. When mixture is at simmer level, add pectin to the juice and stir until well dissolved. Bring to full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
  7. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Test to determine if juice has “jellied” according to pectin packaging instructions. If not, add more pectin from spare box, as directed on instructions.
  9. Pour jelly into hot sterilized jars. Skim foam off top of jelly. Screw the lids on jars and place into a prepared water bath canner with enough simmering water to cover 1 to 2 inches above jars. Add boiling water to canner if needed to cover jars.
  10. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 to 15 minutes according to pectin package instructions for your altitude.
  11. Remove from water. Place on towel, leaving about an inch between jars. Do not move the jars for at least 24 hours. Check that each jar has sealed before storing.
  12. Store in pantry, unopened, for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

I don't recommend doubling this recipe. The juice will not jell or set as it should.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Muscadine jelly is a definite favorite for my family with biscuits and with pork. I hope you enjoy it!

Enjoy!

83 comments on “Muscadine Jelly”

  1. I bought a book called _well preserved_ last year in the hopes I could get over my fear of canning, hasn’t happened yet but I”m still hopeful. Maybe it will take friends like you to break me free! 🙂 Looks awesome. I can’t even imagine the taste since I’m not sure I’ve ever had this type of grape in my life!

  2. hi:

    the recipe sounds easy, but I’m not sure exactly how much water to boil the grapes in.Do you just put enough water to cover the grapes as you said , or is there a set amount to put in to come out to the number of jars you will get? Also, i’ve seen some recipes (The Happy Berry website that does not call for putting the finished product in boiling water to seal them.Is it necessary to seal them? THANKS.

    MARY

    • Hi Mary,
      I just add enough water to cover the grapes. I’ve always finished them off in the boiling water since that’s how my Mama and Grandmother did it. Let me know if you skip this step and how it works for you. I’m all about simplifying where you can!

      Thanks!

  3. Just discovered these delightful little treasures We are in Kentucky and the berries are a lot smaller. Growing up we always referred to them as possum grapes. I tried a batch and followed your recipe and the jelly is absolutely wonderful!! Your directions are clear and the pictures are great. Thank you so much for these instructions.

  4. near the end of the muscadine recipe you state “and now skim the film off the top of the jars. What is this and how do you skim it

  5. Looks great! I’m going to try this tonight 🙂 But I think it is a little confusing because your recipe at the bottom of the page skips several of the steps that your detailed instructions include. I almost always skip to the recipe (since I know how to make jelly already), so it would be very helpful if the recipe actually included the same instructions or at least steps as the post.

    Thanks!

  6. I was up until midnight trying this recipe and some how I failed. I have canned a bunch of “juice” it seems.

    • So sorry it didn’t work for you, Lee. Did you add the additional box of pectin and it still didn’t produce jelly? I’ve not had that happen. Can you tell me more about it so we can figure out what could have happened?

    • Add 2 boxes to start with if you use that amount of fruit indicated in the recioe. I, too, got excellent tasting syrup. So, for those times that we need jelly, I’ll toss in a tbsp. of pectin (per 16 oz size) and stir/boil for a few minutes and pour it back into the jar for a 5 hour chill in the frig. Works great for a dual purpose food. (Hey, Lemons into lemonade)

  7. I put my muscadines through a juicer. Boiled the juice with pectin and then added sugar. They did not set up so after 24 hours I reboiled the juice and added more pectin. They still have not set up. What am I doing wrong and can I still get it to set somehow?

    • Hi Paul,
      I would try to reboil the juice and add another cup of granulated sugar. Just wondering, about how many cups of juice did you use? My muscadines haven’t fully ripened yet, but it has been so wet this summer that I can tell they are a bit juicier than in years past.

  8. The recipe I used called for 6 cups of juice and 8 cups of sugar

  9. I made a batch with white muscadines that set beautifully and tastes amazing, and then a batch of red that is the consistency of apple sauce. I made them the exact same way. Why did the red not set? The grapes were super juicy so I ended up using double the pectin.

  10. Hi Robyn
    Last fall was the first time I tried my hand at muscadine jelly in a long time. I looked for & studied a lot of recipes until I came across yours. It Is so easy and delicious. As a matter of fact I am making some muscadine jelly right now. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Love it!!!!

  11. Yep! It’s a sin in my family too! I think a good ripe muscadine is a little bite of heaven! It’s hard for me to save enough for jelly because I eat so many before I get them in the house! They are addictive!! This year our vines have put out the biggest sweetest berries I have ever had!! I heard on doctor oz that they prevent heart disease too!

  12. You are saying “package” of pectin. I have the instant pectin…can I use that? If so, how much?

  13. GREAT recipe!!! My first time making Jelly! I have a Scuppernog (white Muscadine) vine at home and it produced so many grapes this year that I was a little overcome with what to do with them all..I picked about 5 gallons and juiced them. I was not able to make the jelly for a few weeks, but the juice kept nicely in the fridge until I was ready to use it.

    I ended up with 6 half pint made with splenda (mom and dad are both diabetic) and 12 half pint jars and 6 pint jars made with sugar….I brought a jar into work this morning and made hot biscuits, needless to say it was a HUGE hit and the jar is empty!
    we have enough jelly to last for 2 years…(if I can keep it hidden)

    thanks for the recipe!!

  14. Hi Robyn! As I have been a cook and jelly maker for lets just say awhile lol…When I first started jelly making I ran across the “syrupy” jelly too. I tried again and then I realized..Hey wonder if I cook this longer than a minute if it would help? Guess what? It did! Now any jelly I cook goes for about 1 1/2 minutes and sometimes almost 2. Results? Perfect jelly everytime! hmmm I too got only 3 pints out of one batch lol but it all turned out great and have had many compliments on it!!! Thanks for the recipe and the sharing 🙂

  15. What do you mean by “jellied” and how can you tell?

  16. Great recipe!!!! Thanks to you this is My first time making Muscadine jelly, because the instructions with the pics was so simple and easy. Thanks 4 sheer.

  17. I have my own wild muscadine vine that is over 10″ diameter at the base and I have trained this traditionally vertical grower into a 100′ long trellis (with a small volunteer growing from the other end). I get about 5 gallons of muscadines a year picking sporadically. I was excited to find this recipe for muscadine jelly. However, I’m sorry to say that the amount of water it calls for should be more clear as in my case and at least one other poster we ended up with a vast amount too much muscadine juice. No “cooking down” or amount of Pectin would “solve” this problem so I’m left 8 quarts of muscadine swamp water as I have come to call it. It’s a disappointment but it is good in mixed drinks and marinades.

    So, if you are making this recipe, perhaps “cover” the muscadines means water to the bottom of the top level or even less. You can add more water in the cooking process if needed. If you fail to do so, be prepared to enjoy quite a bit of muscadine swamp water in your cosmopolitan or on your pork loin. If fact, be prepared to drink nightly and eat pork daily as I am.

  18. Wondering if I use my steam juicer to get the juice out…would that work? And also wondering where to get Muscadine berries? Never heard of them???

  19. my neighbor asked me if I knew how to make jelly because she has muscadine vines but doesn’t know what to do with the grapes beside eat them. I said sure and she brought over grapes, sugar, sure-jel and jars. So I’ve been at it most of today and just finished the first batch per your recipe. It’s delicious! Your recipe made 7 1/2 x 8 oz jelly jars and I still have 8 cups of juice in the fridge. It’s truly been a nearly all day affair and my hands and arms are purple. I didn’t have a jelly bag so we used one of my husband’s t-shirts. He confirms it was worth the sacrifice.

    No problem with jelling I kinda lost track of time dealing with the jar sterilization so I probably boiled the juice closer to 2-3 minutes. I used the “spoon test” to tell if I had jelly yet and it worked perfectly. Some things you just never forget!!

  20. I love this recipe and followed it exactly from the start. I used 5 cups of juice and 6 cups of sugar and 1’box sure jell. Followed the exact recipe and only made 6 half pint jars. What are your thoughts. I see where you yeild 12. Thanks for sharing. Appreciate the help. What could I do to make this for my diabetic husband. We use Splenda. The other jellies I have made with Splenda didn’t do well. Some are cloudy looking. Thanks.

  21. invest in a steamer juicer, i got one for fathers day. we have 16 muscadine plants 5 different types, yesterday 9/24/2015 in about 7 hours, I juiced, cleaned jars, and pick some most picked days before, a got 17 gallons of pure juice, Not hard on hands and makes it more fun and buy mashing muscadine hulls the juice can get little crystals in it. after you can the juice you can make jelly with it any time you want even a year or more after, I love my steamer also works on other berries and great tomato juice or sauce and steam shrimp, oysters well any thing that you can steam.” YOU’LL BE STEAMING ” HAVE A STEAMING GOOD DAY

    • Where do you find a steam juicer? I would love one of those!

    • I don’t think I put enough pectin in my jelly
      I followed directions properly(I thought !) but my jelly is too runny
      My question is- can I recoil it and add some more pectin to remedy my problem
      Thx for your help

      James

  22. One thing I have used for juicing larger quantities of muscadines (and blackberries as well) is a paint mixing attachment for a cordless drill. They are steel, or steel with a plastic “vortex” paddle blade at the end (this is the kind I have). Simmer the fruit until soft, run the paint mixer through it for just a few seconds, maybe a minute, simmer some more, and voila, completely pulverized muscadines ready to be strained! ?

  23. New to jarring. How long does it keep?

  24. Gardenway has the juicer….I’ve used mine for over 20 years. Great for anything with skin or seeds

  25. Mine didn’t turn out, can I redo them with more pectin? An this recipe here of yours it doesn’t say to water bath them?
    Confused,
    Tammy Smith

  26. Nice, easy recipe. I used this one for my first canning experience. I added a little too much water during the boiling process so we boiled it down some more for a stronger concentrate. A little more sugar was added after some pressure from my friends who said “it’s jelly…it can never be too sweet. Besides, you only use a little and you don’t eat it by itself.” The jelly had great flavor and beautiful color!..and was a little sweet by itself but not noticable once I topped it over some flavored cream cheese and crackers to sample.

  27. I made this Jelly this afternoon and I use 6 1/2 Cups of the Muscadine Juice and I yielded 10 8 oz. half-pints. I tasted it while was hot and it was sooo good.It has such a better color in those little small jars.

  28. I only have one vine and harvested about one gallon today. By next week I may get one more gallon but won’t have 5 gallons as you recommend in your recipe. Do you think adjusting the quantities will work satisfactorily?

  29. how long can the reduced liquid, once at that stage, be kept in the fridge until ready to finish with sugar and pectin? I have mashed and boiled, but would have more time to f.

    • Hi Royce,
      I’ve not done my jelly this way (put juice in refrigerator and made later), but I would think you would not want to wait very long. If you do it this way, you’ll need to start again with step #5 of the recipe. I hope you enjoy the jelly! It’s been a favorite in my family for years. Thanks!

  30. Your verbiage says 5 pounds to make 5 cups of juice but the recipe says 5 gallons. 5 gallons is way more than 5 pounds. I assume the correct amount is 5 pounds?

    • Yes, you are correct. Thanks so much for catching that Monty! I’ve corrected the recipe.
      The amount of juice needed to make the jelly – 5 cups of juice – is correct though. Enjoy!

  31. I made last year and my grandkids loved it doing it again this year thanks.

  32. I made this Muscatine jelly today. It was totally the bomb! With 5 cups of juice I yield 8 half pint jars. Thank you for this wonderful recipe

  33. Robyn, What does the 1pkg of pectin (+1 spare Box mean? Do I need 2 boxes of pectin. Thank you

  34. How much pectin is in a box? I have a jar of pectin so I’m a bit lost here.

  35. HELP! This was my first time making jelly and I made this jam exactly like the recipe said, but someone told me I needed to water process the jars to make sure they don’t have botulism. I did not do that. All I did is close the lids and let them sit overnight for 24 hours like the recipe said. This was about a week ago and they have been sitting on the shelf ever since. The lids are not moving up or down or anything like that. I tested one by taking the screw cap off I was able to open it by using my finger and pushing up, but it didn’t come off super easily.. Are these safe to eat/store or do I need to throw them out?

    • I’m sorry, Stephanie. I gave instructions in my Muscadine Jelly post to place the filled jars back into the pan of water, covering the jars with water, and boiling for 15 minutes. However, those instructions were not included in the printable recipe. I have now corrected the recipe. Thanks!

  36. Is one package of pectin mean the whole box or just one of the packages in a box? This will be my first time making muscadine jelly. I can’t wait to taste it! Thanks!!

  37. This is my first experience at canning. I followed your recipe exactly. Only used one box of pectin because I didn’t know how to decide if my jelly was setting/ready. At what point do you start to see them solidify? Jelly? Mine look like liquid of course right out of the hot water bath. Wondering when I realize it was a fail or success. LOL

    • Hi Dana,
      You may want to check the instructions with the brand of pectin that you used to tell how to determine if jelly has jelled. Also, I have updated the recipe to add some more information to the instructions that may be helpful to you. I hope it helps. Thanks so much!

  38. I tried this recipe yesterday, it was my first time to make jelly. I have about 8 to 9 cups of juice once I cooked, mashed and strained. I used two boxes of pectin and 10 1/2 cups of sugar. The jelly did not set. It is very runny. I have been reading this morning about how to remake. do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Gammie,
      Jelly making is a fun – and delicious – experience – I’m glad you are giving it a try!
      I’ve never had to remake my jelly. You may want to check the instructions with the pectin you used for more information. I have updated the recipe to add some more information to the instructions that may be helpful to you. I hope it helps. Thanks so much!

  39. I tripled this recipe. It worked out fine. It’s a little tricky getting 1 gallon of juice to a boil that can’t be stirred down. The muscadines I have are the bronze colored type. I cut down the sugar buy two cups for this triple recipe. It turned out really good. It has a tart- sweet flavor. I still have 2 gallons of juice left that I think I’ll freeze. One gallon of juice made 10+ pints of jelly.

  40. Awesome tasting thank you

  41. Is not very clear from the recipe, but make sure you have five cups of juice. If you come up short, add water or grape juice. Five cups of juice to six cups of sugar and one packet of sure jell.

  42. I picked and purchased 5 lbs muscadines. I washed thoroughly and followed these directions. My question is: how do I know if I’ve used too much water? The pectin recipe only calls for 5 cups of the juice. I actually have 13 1/2 cups. I’m preparing to freeze the excess for later.

  43. I made this recipe last night and was looking forward to some muscadine jelly. I followed the directions, but the juice did not gel! I put the mixture in jars anyway and used the inversion method to seal. I thought maybe it would thicken as it cooled. Now I have 6 jars of slightly thickened muscadine juice. I really followed the recipe, but I did not have a thermometer to use. What went wrong?

    • Hi! It sounds like you needed a little bit more pectin for your jelly to set. However, I will say that all is not wasted! The thickened muscadine juice is still delicious over hot butter biscuits or even over pork tenderloin for supper! xo

  44. Hi Robyn – Is a water bath not necessary for this jelly? Just trying to get clarification. I love this recipe and have used it for the past 3 years but have not been doing a water bath. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this because other sites insist on a water bath.

  45. Does the mixture need to be strained through a cheesecloth or is a regular fine strainer ok?

  46. Dear Robyn,

    I have tendonitis, wondering if a food processor would work instead of mashing?!
    Carol

    • Hi Carol,
      I’ve not tried this recipe using a food processor, so I can’t say how it would turn out. I begin mashing them as they are cooking as I describe in the recipe and in more detail in my blog post. Thanks!

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