100% Local: Maine Graple Syrup

More goodness from my haul of Concord grapes from Tai’s grandmom Louisa’s Downeast Maine grapevines: grape + maple = graple syrup! This syrup is like Voltaire: if it didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. Mostly so that someone could run around the house singing “graple, graple, graple, I made you out of clay…graple, graple, graple, with graple I will play!”  Until that someone’s husband shakes his head, rolls his eyes, says “You’re insane,” and escapes to the garage.

This recipe is easy-peasy and quite delicious. Grape juice is already fairly thick and needs little encouragement to become syrup; the touch of maple syrup takes the edge off of the tang of the grape flavor without making the syrup overly sweet and helps to thicken up the texture. Fantastic over pancakes and vanilla ice cream, I’m sure it would be equally good in yogurt, oatmeal or a fruit smoothie. Also handy for those of you who can’t stand the thought of peeling all those grapes.

Adapted from Grape Syrup in Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton

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Maine Graple Syrup

SPEICAL EQUIPMENT

  • food mill or chinois

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs Concord, wild or other purple grapes, stemmed and well-rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt

METHODS

  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Combine water and grapes in a medium (4-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven.  Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat a simmer until grapes have mostly broken down, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a food mill or chinois.  Push through grape pulp; discard seeds & skins.
  4. Rinse stockpot; return grape pulp to pot and add maple syrup and salt. For a very smooth syrup, blend at this point with an immersion blender. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the juice has thickened slightly (the quality of the bubbles with change), about 5 to 10 minutes. (Do not overcook, or your syrup will turn to jam).
  5. Fill hot, sterlized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a  boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields about 3 and 1/2 cups.

OPTIONS

  1. You could substitute honey or sugar for the maple syrup; but then you wouldn’t get to say “graple.”  You could also eliminate sweetener entirely, but it will take a longer time to reach a syrupy consistency; or you could increase the maple syrup for a stronger maple flavor; this one is most grape with just a hint of maple.
  2. It’s easy to cut the recipe in half and simply store this in the fridge in a pint jar.

STORE

Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.  Refrigerated, use within 1 month.

SEASON

Fall.

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6 comments

  1. Nancy

    I simply must tell you a short story about the word graple. This is the second time I’ve seen that word written and when I opened this in my e-mail it made me grin from ear to ear! The first time I was 7 years old. I was in the hospital having my tonsils taken out (which used to involve an overnight stay). My mother made me a card which included a poem she wrote herself. This is the poem… “Roses are red, violets are graple. I love you more than syrup that’s maple.” I’ve never, ever forgotten that poem. For some reason the word “graple” stuck with me. Thank you so much for bringing back that happy memory! I might just have to make this in honor of my mom :)

  2. And here I thought I made the word up, and all along I was just stealing it from your Mom. I should rename this “Nancy’s Mom’s Graple Syrup.”

    Thanks for sharing – what a great story. :)

  3. Morgan

    Hi,
    I have been following your blog for awhile and I love it! I was just gifted some grape juice this weekend that I need to use up fast! It is very tart. If I make this recipe starting with fresh pure grape juice that my grandma made, how much juice should I add? Do you have any other ideas for using up the grape juice? I have 3 gallons!

  4. Hi Morgan,

    Homemade grape juice from Grandma – what a great gift! The usual rule of thumb is about 1 cup of juice per pound of grapes; I suspect I got a bit more, simply because of the end yield. Basically, I would start with 2 cups of grape juice, then add maple syrup to taste. You may want to add a bit more maple syrup than I used if your grapes are quite tart. This is a quite adjustable recipe, and easily doubled (or tripled!) if you have a lot of juice and a lot of maple syrup.

    I’ll have a grape jelly recipe coming up on the blog (which is a great use for the juice), flavored with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. I know Kate, over at Hip Girl’s, has a basic Concord grape jelly with lots of instruction for new canners: http://hipgirlshome.com/blog/2010/10/3/concord-grape-jelly.html . Or for an even more basic grape jelly, buy yourself a package of Ball fruit pectin and follow the instructions on the packet.

    Grape juice will freeze well and you could boil it down to a grape juice concentrate; add water and a touch of sugar to tame the tartness and you could drink homemade grape juice all winter long.

    Best of luck and let us know how you make out!
    Kaela

  5. I love the sound of this syrup! It sounds like a really fun one to make with my son. And only 2 lbs of concord grapes needed! I think I have a new project this weekend…

  6. So glad I found you! I am planning to make grape jam with some old grapes I froze and I’m high on the maple syrup as sweetener lately — both because I love the taste and because it has a lower glycemic index than processed sugar. You say I will get jam if I keep cooking this? I’m going to give it a try and also hunt for the grape jelly recipe you mention. BTW, we don’t have an immersion blender (in fact I just learned what one was from my nephew, home from cooking at his food coop in college). Is there another kitchen tool we can use instead? Thanks!

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