Coronation Grape Syrup
This is part of my new preserving column for a bunch of regional Ontario newspapers.
Find the original post here.
It’s a mystery to me why the Coronation grape’s popularity doesn’t seem to extend beyond the borders of its native country. A hybrid of the Himrod and black Patricia varieties, the Coronation has all the sweet and sour, musky, grape candy flavor of the Concord but with the added charm of being virtually seedless. This makes it a superior table grape while still making a wonderful choice for preserving, especially considering its lack of seeds makes preparing it for jam a much less laborious task.
For this easy syrup, however, there is almost no work involved, and a seeded variety would work just as well if you have a mystery vine in your yard that produces tasty grapes. Just mash, heat, strain and bottle, and you will have a year’s worth of delicious grape syrup to enjoy. Delightfully nostalgic simply mixed with sparkling water for something akin to a healthier grape soda, this syrup also pairs well with spirits like gin and tequila. If you would like a thicker syrup—say, for swirling into peanut butter cheesecake or blondies—just tip a jar of syrup into a small pot and boil until reduced by one half to two thirds. You could even try it on pancakes!
NOTE: Citric acid can be a little bit hard to track down, but it’s really worth adding here. Cooking fruit dulls acidity and just a bit of this powder brings back that vibrant fresh fruit flavor.
Coronation Grape Syrup
Makes seven 250mL jars
3 kg (18 cups) stemmed Coronation grapes
1 kg (5 cups) sugar
¾ tsp. citric acid
In a large pot, combine the grapes and sugar. Mash them lightly with clean hands to get the juices flowing. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to just barely simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fruit has released all its juice.
Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer or jelly bag set over a deep container. Press gently against the mass of grapes to extract more liquid. Discard the pulp or save for another use. Stir the citric acid into the syrup, then pour into clean jars to within ½” of the rim. Seal fingertip tight and heat process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Allow the jars to cool 24 hours, then check the seal before storing somewhere cool, dark and dry, where the syrup will keep at least a year.