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Jams and Marmalades
 Italian wine grape marmalade
Marmellata di Uva (Mary's Grape Marmalade, using black, seedless grapes, Version III)
Originated from: Molise, Italy & Montreal, Quebec
Occasion: Autumn
Contributed by: Mary Melfi

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For seedless black grape marmalade*

2 pounds seedless black grapes with stems still still on (OR, about 6 1/2 cups of grapes, removed from their stems)
3/4 cup sugar

*Makes about 1 1/8 cups (10 oz) of marmalade


o Use good quality seedless "BLACK" grapes (Do NOT substitute "blue" seedless!).

o Remove "BLACK" seedless grapes from their stems.

o Wash grapes under cold water and drain of excess water.

o Place the grapes in a large bowl and using the palms of your hands "crush" them so that some of the juice is released.

o Place the crushed grapes in a heavy pot (One that will not easily burn what's in it).

o Bring to a boil.

o Add about 3/4 of a cup of sugar and mix well.

o Lower heat, and simmer for about 1 hour, frequently stirring the mixture, especially towards the end of the cooking process. When the mixture has sufficiently thickened and/or has the look of a marmalade, it is "done."

o Place the marmalade in glass Mason jars while it is still warm. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed. (P.S. If one is making a lot of marmalade and wants to store it for a long time the traditional procedures for making marmalade or jam need to be incorporated. The Mason jars need to be pre-sterilized and after they are filled, need to be boiled in water and so on. Such steps don't have to be taken if one is making a small amount as suggested -- the marmalade will keep for about a week in the fridge, but after that, this marmalade, or any other made at home, can run the risk of getting of getting moldy.)

o When needed remove from the fridge, and serve at room temperature (Expect the marmalade to be very "thick" -- it almost has the feel of a solid; traditional Molisani wine black grape marmalade has a similar texture).


For the "traditional" Molisana-style recipe for making wine grape marmalade see "Wine Grape Marmalade, Version I." This recipe is adapted from that one. Frankly, wine grape marmalade made in the traditional manner with Alcante-type black wine grapes is way superior to the marmalade made following this recipe which uses "SEEDLESS BLACK GRAPES." There is no question about that. However, using Alcante grapes to make marmalade takes a great deal of time and effort as each individual grape has to be manually de-seeded. I decided to try out seedless black grapes, curious to know what the end result would be. To my pleasant surprise seedless black grapes made a nice enough grape marmalade (I used Californian seedless black grape from "Jasmine Vineyards PLU 4056" ). It's certainly better than any commercial grape jelly that is on the market (in my opinion). In any case, for any Italian North American who grew up in the 1960s and might be nostalgic for this style of grape marmalade and does not have the time to do the marmalade the traditional way (The right way!) this is a good alternative, and worth a try. Molisani wine grape marmalade has a very thick texture, almost as hard as a rock. Some love it, some, not so much! Oddly enough, as a child, I didn't enjoy it, but now that I'm much older than I ever expected to be (Expected to be forever young?), I go nuts for it. I don't know if I'm nuts for my youth, or just plain nuts, but in any case the marmalade is packed with flavor. Unfortunately, black seedless grapes are expensive. Thinking I might be able to save some money I tried making marmalade out of Ontario "blue" Concorde grape, and hated it. To make good Southern Italian grape marmalade you have to use BLACK grapes, and that's all there is to it... P.S. My aunt, Zia Rosina Melfi, a first generation Italian-Canadian who grew up in Casacalenda in the 1930s, says that once she hit the big 80, she too started to use seedless black grape to make wine-grape marmalade (This I hadn't known... I had assumed the use of seedless black grapes was an original idea, silly me!). Photo: by the contributor.

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