The sea grape is a coastal plant that grows in sandy soil along the beach in Florida and the West Indies. Though the plant's fruit resembles clusters of grapes, sea grapes are actually a member of the buckwheat family. Once ripened, the fruit becomes burgundy in color and has a slightly sweet, acidic flavor. Sea grapes are perfect to cook down with a little sugar and turn into jelly, so that you can enjoy them year-round.
This recipe came from "Prop Roots, Vol. 1, Recipes from the Mangrove Country of The Everglades" (1980, copyrighted by Collier County Public Schools). This recipe was originally published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
- 2 Pounds seagrapes
- Cold water to cover
- 1 Cup sugar for each 1 cup juice
Step 1: Select 2 pounds of seagrapes that are firm and not overripe.
Step 2: Add them to a large pot. Cover well with water and boil rapidly for 20 to 30 minutes, mashing the grapes while boiling.
Step 3: Pour the mixture through cheese cloth, to strain the juice (have a pan beneath the cheese cloth to catch the juice). Allow the juice to drop through the cheese cloth, and then squeeze out the remainder. Some jelly makers then strain the juice again, through a cotton flannel bag, to achieve a clearer jelly.
Step 4: Add 1 cup of sugar to each 1 cup of juice in the pan. Stir over heat until the sugar dissolves and the juice boils. Boil rapidly until it reaches 223 F on a jelly thermometer, or reaches the jelling stage.
Step 5: Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal tightly. This recipe makes about 3 jelly glasses of jelly. The best color and texture in the finished product is obtained by making small amounts at a time.