Appalachian Food

Mountain Flavors Day One – Jelly and Jam

process of making jelly with grapes

Sugar is used to preserve fruits and vegetables in the form of jelly or jams. Common ones come to mind like blackberry, apple, peach, and grape. But folks also jelly tomatoes, elderberries, gooseberries, huckleberries, peppers, and more!

In today’s class we’ll be making Fox Grape jelly from juice Carolyn canned last year. I’m hoping to show the class some fox grapes growing by the creek on one of our field trips this week, or at least take in a grape vine to show them. Fox grapes won’t be ripe till late summer that’s why we’re using canned juice.

You know I have to show them how to make my favorite of jellys-Blackberry! The berries are just now beginning to ripen in our area so I’m hoping we can pick at least a few if not the entire amount needed for jelly.

Seems only fitting that we make a run of Folk School Red Pepper Jelly so we’ll be doing that too.

Fresh peaches from farther south are beginning to show up at produce stands around this area so we’ll make a run of peach preserves and I may show the students how to make jelly from peach peelings. Remember when Granny told me not to do that and I did it anyway? If you missed me proving Granny wrong, which is a very rare thing, you can go here to read about it.


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  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    I like all different kinds of jelly. It hard to chose my favorite. It looks good Tipper.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Bet it smells real good in the kitchen!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Yum …… reading all of this puts me to thinking about the taste, and even the smell as you are cooking….. especially the tart taste of the grapes when they are not quite ripe and the sweetness when they are….and the jams and jellies ….so so good. What fun learning about it all in a class. We had a grape vine running down the side of our house on a fence ..every summer so tasty , I would eat them just like ”PapPaw’s post” described on the link ”Fox Grape ” I clicked on, ….sometimes I enjoyed eating them green and tart, , but I also liked Green June apples with salt( as my granny called them),she did make jelly out of these also, and dried a lot too … also loved eating raw lemons with salt, and even ” sour grass” which many a summer day I picked and ate 🙂

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      June 24, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      When you say “sour grass” are you referring to what I call wild cucumber? It’s is a tiny seed pod less than an inch long with a sour taste and looks like a ting cucumber. The plant grow everywhere out in the yard and has a tiny yellow flower and leaves that sorta look like a clover.

      • Reply
        Ed Ammons
        June 24, 2019 at 7:52 pm

        Tiny not ting but it does have a tang when you eat it.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 24, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    I called everyone that I had a phone number Just About it, and I had no sound on anything. I even called Frontier and their Specialists couldn’t figure it out. I waited about a week and figured it out myself. Down in the right hand corner (where the clock is), off the screen, in the black, there is a square that looks like a book, and I must have put my curser on it and it quit any sound. Just in case someone else has that trouble. I went back and caught-up on all the past that had talking. …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 24, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    My mother would only make jelly from peach peelings if she knew exactly where and what trees they come from..She used to say that they are sprayed too much with poison and she got afraid of todays peelings…Even at that she near scrubbed the hide off of them to get that old time thick peach fuzz off before peeling skins for the jelly..LOL My very favorite is Blackberry Jam…just be sure and strain off a bit of those seeds which makes it a bit clearer without too many seeds…Of course I love blackberry jelly too…
    In later years…Pepper Jelly got to be the craze…served on crackers with creamed cheese…I love Red and Green Pepper jelly..Mother could make the best I ever tasted..and always had plenty for the Fall holidays..
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 24, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Fox grapes are the native wild precursor of many of hybrid grapes we see these days. One characteristic of real fox grapes is they are “slip-skinned”. If you can squeeze the grape and squirt the center pulp into your mouth you probably have a fox grape. Or if you can use your tongue to squeeze it against the roof of your mouth and the same result, it probably is a fox grape. Most of the sugar and flavor is in the skin and the inner liner of the skin. I used to swallow the inner part of the grapes whole and chew the skins until the sweetness was gone then spit it out.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Sounds like you are off and running, Tipper! I don’t think I eat nearly enough jelly, and I’m going to try to fix that 😉

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Your grapes look like they would be delicious. Don’t think I ever had Fox Grapes. Daddy grew scuppernong and muscadine grapes that were huge. I loved jelly from them, but I don’t hardly eat jelly anymore. To enjoy, you really need a big batch of cathead biscuits to slather on butter and jelly. Usually when we have traveled through different States, I will buy some of their jellies.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 24, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Before I started to school, I remember Daddy putting a couple of wooden hampers in the trunk and going to Piercy Creek straight to gather Fox Grapes. We’d gather a couple Bushel of Fox Grapes that were on those big rocks of the Nantahala River above the Powerhouse. Both Mama and Daddy would Can ’em for us and in the cold Winter months, with Hot Biscuits there was nothing better. How I miss those days! …Ken

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 8:38 am

    So wish I was there taking your class, but couldn’t afford it this year. I don’t comment often, but I’ve been looking forward to hearing about this class. Also, just so you know, Tipper, this spring I moved to Knoxville from SE Pennsylvania. I grew up in Chattanooga so East TN is home. And I think reading your blog over the last couple of years had a lot to do with that decision forming in my head. I’m thrilled to be home again and in sight of the mountains.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 24, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Wish I could give you the blackberries I have been picking from my thornless canes. They are just about at their peak. My wife doesn’t like them because of the seeds so it is up to me. We gave away a half gallon of so at church yesterday which was one picking as I only have a spot about 4 x 6 feet. I originally planted 4 canes outside the fence but the deer never gave them a chance. When one of them popped up inside the garden fence I just let them have that spot. They do, however, want to keep spreading. Wish I could let them.

    Hope you all have a memorable good time in your and Carolina’s cooking class.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 24, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I know you all will have a great time in the class this week and your getting off to a sweet start. Have lots of fun while your cooking.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 24, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I like the blackberry too but my favorite is black raspberry. I’ve eat possum grape jelly but not fox grape jelly. I googled fox grapes and they do grow in KY. but not in my area. Anybody ever eat crab apple jelly?
    The only preserving I’m doing was putting up steel post around my pie cherry tree and wrapping the posts with barbed wire. Now the deer are eating my new thornless blackberry canes. More posts and more bob warr!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Great you are teaching about preserving some of what nature offers. Not a fan of jelly, as I had to eat way to many jelly and preserve sandwiches growing up. However, I totally have loved making your pepper jelly, but usually use green because I am too impatient to wait until the peppers turn red. My Mother’s former sitter mentions it every time I see her, because I gave her a small jar.
    Granny may have been taught all sorts of scary info about peach fuzz much like I was growing up. It may be just in Appalachia, but I always heard peach fuzz would cause everything from kidney infections to other maladies. Actually in reality that makes no sense, as the preservation process takes care of any problem. Good to teach using everything in some way, and I know back in the day they wasted nothing.
    I suffered from kidney stone many years ago when I lived in New Orleans for a time. My sister in law was certain it had been caused by my eating peach fuzz. Her treatment was to take the white glob in several eggs and add salt. and then swallow. I have thought about that through the years, as I did get better. She was originally from Oklahoma., and this along with swallowing chewing tobacco for tapeworm was home remedies she was taught growing up, I was young and gullible, and she seemed very knowledgeable in the old ways. Many are good sound treatments while others are very suspect.

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