Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Grape Hull Jelly

grape hull jelly

The Grapes are ripe and ready for the jars lined up on my kitchen counters. We have an abundant supply of wild fox grapes that grow along the creek, Granny has tame grapevines in her backyard, and Miss Cindy has a friend with more grapes than he can use-so my Grape supply this time of the year seems endless.

Sometime during the last year I heard my Aunt talking about Grape Hull Jelly. I had never heard of it-so I was curious. She went on and on about how it was so much better than your usual grape jelly.

The Blind Pig family mostly prefers jelly to jam-so I kept thinking about Grape Hull Jelly and wondering if we would like it or not. Finally I decided to try it thinking if we didn’t like it I could always give it away for Christmas presents.

The first problem I ran into-I couldn’t find a clear recipe of how to make grape hull jelly. So I kinda made mine up as I went.

~first I washed the grapes-and popped the insides out into a pot-reserving the hulls for later

~next I added some water to the pot and cooked the skinless grapes for about 15 minutes (I added water till the grapes were almost covered)

~I poured the grapes into my ricer-to get the seeds out-a food mill would also work good for this step or if you had to you could use the old timey method of cheese cloth/pillow case

I felt good about the process up to this point, but when I thought about adding those hulls back in-I just couldn’t get my mind around what the texture of the jelly would be like. I almost gave up and just made jelly from the hull-less juice-but I kept hearing my Aunt’s voice in my head.

~I got out my food processor, chopped the hulls up to a pretty fine texture, and added them back to the juice

~I pulled out a box of sure jel and followed the directions for making grape jelly

grape jam
So what did I think about the finished product? My Aunt was right! The addition of the hulls gave the jelly an unbelievable brightness-and my worry about the hulls ruining the texture were for nothing. As the jelly cooked the hulls all but dissolved-and I believe if I had done a more thorough job chopping them they would have completely dissolved.

It’s always hard to tell how many grapes it takes to make the amount of juice needed for making jelly-I had 2 cups left over. When I have extra juice, I put it in the frig if I’m going to make another run of jelly in the next few days or if it’ll be longer than a week before my next run, I pop it in the freezer and then thaw it on the day I need it.

Since I’ve never made Grape Hull Jelly before-and I couldn’t find a recipe I’m not sure I was supposed to chop up the hulls. If you’ve ever made it or ate it please leave me a comment and tell me what you know.



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  • Reply
    July 23, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Topper, as I was reading today’s BPATA it reminded me of my fried Paula. She’s from the mountains around Missouri but lived most of her life like me in Texas. She used this method of making grape hull jelly using wild Mustang grapes that are everywhere along the pasture fences and back roads. I make my grape jelly from a recipe from Texas A&M agricultural Dept. You just place the grapes in a big pot and cover them with water stopping when you get to the tops of the grapes. Bring them to a full boil and using a potato masher break them up good. Strain through a colander and then again through a mesh strainer. Now follow the directions on sur-jell package. I took a second place ribbon at the State Fair of Texas with this recipe.

  • Reply
    Sherry L Raley
    November 12, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I am also a native of N.C. My Grandma used to make grape hull preserves when I was young. She left the hulls whole. It was so good on a hot, buttermilk biscuit. She passed away many years ago and I sure do miss her and her wonderful preserves. ❤

    • Reply
      September 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      I have my mother’s grape hull preserves recipe. I have a batch on stove now. Sh3 always left the hulks whole. We would dig in the jar for a hull to plop on the next biscuit bite. Yummmm!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Kimberly-no I haven’t tried grape pie but now I want too! Thank you for the comments have a great day!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    September 17, 2017 at 8:02 am

    One of my favorites is grape pie made from fox grapes or Concord grapes. Have you ever tried it?

  • Reply
    August 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Sheila-thank you for the comment! Hope your grape hull jelly turns out great!
    Have a good week!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Sheila T.
    August 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Hi, my Mom, a good old NC country girl, made grape hull preserves but always left the hulls whole. They were fantastic on buttermilk biscuits (homemade, of course). Can’t wait to make some!

  • Reply
    October 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you for the comment! I do not know a source for grape hull jelly. Maybe your local farmers market would have a vendor selling it? So glad you enjoyed visiting the Blind Pig and I hope you drop back by often!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Sherman Halstead
    October 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for the article. I bought a commercial jar of grape hull jelly in Atlanta in the early 70’s and haven’t seen any since. Do you know any source for them anywhere?
    You have a great web site. It brings back memories of growing up in South Georgia a long time ago. Happy days.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I just found your blog while googling fox grapes. Love this post, the comments and especially the music! I’m looking forward to my fox grapes…and possibly my neighbors, to ripen and be made into jelly/jam or pie!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    June 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks “cuz” for popping over and linking up this post on the Carnival of Home Preserving!

  • Reply
    Richard Moore
    January 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I’m late to this blog post but my mother made grape hull jelly, although she called it hull preserves. The way she made it, the hulls were distinctly evident. She put them through a colander–although it may have been a sausage grinder as I recall her turning the crank and pushing down with a masher.
    My mother canned everything and used the freezer locker (located nine miles away at the county seat) mostly for the meat not salted and kept in the meat box at home.
    My favorite jelly/jam was strawberry jam. After that came blackberry jelly and fig preserves. We tended to eat the favorites first. I knew we were beyond the halfway point when we got to the jelly made from Himalayan Blackberries. The blackberry taste was there but with it came the very large seeds of that berry would lodge between teeth and resist all but the most artfully wielded toothpick.
    Last and least were the jars of hull preserves. When they came from the back of the pantry, I knew we were nearing the end. I remember how the hull preserves looked on one of her biscuits. And they tasted pretty well but were a bit too chewy in texture.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I love grape jelly. Something happened to my vines this year, we only had a very small amount of grapes, not enough to do anything with. What you made sounds like what I call grape jam. An older friend of mine told me about it one year and I made the jelly leaving the hulls in. It was very good as is grape pie with the hulls.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Bet and I bought some more grape vines this summer (love summer sales at the nursery) and now after this article I am really looking forward to our first crops next summer. Our one surviving grape vine produces shade for the back of the house (it’s my “air conditioning”). It is so big it hardly produces much in grapes, lots of them but really dinky.

  • Reply
    Jane Henson
    August 23, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I have made a preserve using the whole grape, pecans and a little graded orange rind. It is very pretty in the jars and smells and tast amazing. When the jars were opened you could smell it all over the dining room.
    I have also made jelly using spring violets. One year I left the flowers in and put it in the jars. It smelled and tast so good. I have not canned, frozen or made jellys in a long time. However, if I ever start again I will be doing more of the preserve type thing because they taste soo good.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Nice post on fox grape jelly. My
    favorite! I want to give it a try.
    Have had computer trouble for several days, missed the Blind Pig
    and everyone commenting. Now I’m
    behind on everything…Ken

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    i make my grape jelly like Cindy…hull and all in the pan, then get the clearest jelly strain thru a jelly bag real slow….
    I am so jealous…we were gone about a week and the “varmits” got our grapes…they were the prettiest they had been in years..just starting to ripen…
    Haven’t seen Fox grapes in years but sure we have a few here on the place down by the wet weather spring…
    I am fond of Scuppernongs (white) and Muscadines…I can eat a bushel of them…

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    August 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve never had hull jelly but it sounds great. Our women folks did make some fine muscadine pies with the hulls in, though.
    Rooney Floyd

  • Reply
    August 18, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I can remember when my mother used to make grape jelly, it was always my favorite.
    Whitetail Woods Blog / Muzzleloader Testing

  • Reply
    August 18, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Rachelle-they’re on the table : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    canned quilter
    August 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Never heard of putting the hulls in! I shall have to try that one. As a child I remember gathering muscadines and my mother making muscadine jelly. This year I canned grape juice and am making homemade grape wine.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2010 at 7:47 am

    this is a first for me, never heard of it and it sounds good to me. i always eat the hulls of all grapes, even scuppernong grapes that daddy always said i should not eat. I know i would love this even if you did not chop up the hulls. yum

  • Reply
    August 18, 2010 at 1:04 am

    My granny made hull jelly when I was very young. I remember hers as having large pieces of hull, but they were very soft. I guess that added a little character.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    August 18, 2010 at 12:19 am

    This is new to me — but I’m not a big fan of grape jelly. Maybe I’d like this better. It looks beautiful!

  • Reply
    Ginny Hartzler
    August 18, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I have never heard of grape hull jelly, but then I’ve never heard of Fox Grapes. Wonder why they got that name? Did you know that it’s the outside skins of the grapes that offer the protection of heart health? You can drink a bit of wine each day, which is what my cardiologist told me to do. But you can also drink grape juice instead if it is a brand that is made with the skins. Your pictures are excellent in explaining!

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    August 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    tipper; my neighbor has some fine looking grapes, i believe i,ll give him your recipe,and see what happens. it sure is nice having a farmer next door,his dad is also a tarheel, so he can come up with some mighty good eats.your friend k.o.h

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Tipper, I just made Grape Jelly/Jam. Here is what I did: I wash the grapes (Concord), put them in a pot, add a little water, cook a while, mash with a potato masher, pour all this in the ricer, mash till only the seeds and a little pulp are left,discard the seed and use the liquid to make my jelly/jam following the
    Sure Jell directions.
    It’s great and is actually a thick (and rich) jelly.
    Mighty fine!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Where’s the biscuits Tipper? Looks delicious!!!!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t know a thing about making grape jelly –but yours made me very hungry… I can only imagine how good it tastes… YUM!!!!! Thanks for sharing, Tipper.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    That looks plum yummy. I have only made strawberry preserves, but never attempted jelly. I love grape, but have never had homemade. I think I’m going to start looking for a recipe and see what a big ole’ mess I can make…thanks for the heads up.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Your jelly looks good. Don’t know if those grapes are the same as the muscadine grapes that grow here. There are recipes to making jelly from them on the computer.I’ve not made jelly in along time but seems rather easy.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Tipper–Great blog, and mention of fox grapes brought back some wonderful memories about gathering them to make jelly when I was a boy, not to mention gorging on the ripe bounty along creeks and branches.
    Have you have had or tried a hull pie. I learned about this delicacy, which will bring tears of pure joy to the eyes of any self-respecting country boy (or girl) when I started enjoying muscadines and scuppernongs in South Carolina, where I now live. It utilizes only the hulls, squeezing out the middle much as you did, but the pulp can be set aside for jelly. If you want, I can dig you out a recipe from one of the cookbooks Ann and I have written or from her files. As Grandpa Joe used to say, “I disremember just where it is.” However, I know we’ve got the recipe, and I strongly suspect that it would work just as well with fox grapes as it would with muscadines.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

    The only grape jelly I’ve made is from grape juice, so I’m of no help to you.
    That jelly sure looks delicious though!!!

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