Every year our family picks wild mustang grapes to make grape jelly and grape juice. Mustang grapes are similar to muscadine grapes but more sour, however, they make a lovely sweet/tart jelly and juice. Every year we have quite a bit of leftover mash or waste from extracting the juice, this year I decided to do something with it – make grape pie.
I first heard about grape pie last year when a friend shared that she had made a pie with the leftover grape mash. I tasted it and fell in love – it was tart like lemon or lime pie with just enough sweetness to be a dessert. Just so you know, using leftover grape mash is not the traditional way to make grape pie – it’s just easier.
Traditional grape pie is much more involved than what I do. There are all kinds of concord grape pie recipes and even a festival in Upstate New York where it appears that concord grape pie originated.
Traditionally grape pie is made with whole grapes. To get rid of the seeds, you squeeze the grape pulp from the skin, mash the pulp through a sieve to get the seeds out, and then mix the seedless pulp with the seeds and cook them down. I’m sure it makes a lovely grape pie, but that’s a lot of work for one pie.
How to Make Grape Pie Filling From Mash
Mustang grapes are so vibrant and flavorful that even after extracting the juice, the leftover mash is still tasty and a deep purple color. To extract the juice, I now use a steam juicer – this is the one I have and love. For years I juiced the grapes by hand and while it is a fun project, especially if you have children around, it’s time consuming and a bit messy.
After juicing the grapes, I use food mill with the fine mesh cone to separate the seeds, any stems, and the skin from the pulp. This is the food mill I have. It’s a huge time saver during food preserving season!
When all was said and done, I had a couple of gallons of grape mash. I decided to make a grape pie, but also to can grape pie filling for later.
I like to keep a variety of home preserved food on hand but I don’t like to have so much that we have too much for the year. I use worksheets to keep track of how much food I preserve each year. You can get these worksheets emailed to you by filling out the form below.
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Canning Grape Pie Filling
In order to safely can pie filling that has thickener added, you have to use ClearJel – there is no other thickener safe for canning. Clear Jel is safe because it does not start to thicken until it starts to cool off. All the other thickeners, thicken while they are getting hot which means they’ll thicken during the canning process and it will be hard for the heat to get all through the canned pie filling.
If you don’t have Clear Jel on hand, just can the pie filling without it and add the thickener when you make the pie. I’ll give instructions for how to do that. For the filling I used 2 cups sugar, 2 tbsp clear jel, and 1 tbsp lemon juice for every quart of mash. The mash was fairly thick already but I wanted it thicker – like a key lime pie.
There is a printable recipe for canning grape pie filling at the bottom of this post. If you are new to water bath canning, here are some tips to help you can safely.
Grape Pie Recipe
Every great pie starts with a great pie crust recipe. If you don’t already have a fantastic pie crust recipe, I have you covered. This pie crust is tasty, in fact it’s the only pie crust my husband likes. Plus it’s easy to work with and freezes well. You seriously need to try this no-fail pie crust. This recipe will make two pie crusts.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pie crust and put it in a 10″ pie pan and trim the dough that overhangs the sides. If you didn’t use Clear Jel to thicken the canned grape pie filling, then put a quart of filling in a bowl and whisk 2 tablespoons arrowroot into the mixture. Then add the grape pie filling to pie pan. If you used Clear Jel when you canned the grape pie filling you can just pour the filling into the prepared pie pan.
If you want to make a lattice pie top, roll out the rest of the pie crust and cut into strips to weave on top of the pie. Don’t forget to pinch the lattice ends to the bottom pie crust. If you want to make a full pie crust top, roll out the rest of the pie crust and lay it on top of the pie. Trim the overhang and pinch the bottom and top crusts together. Cut a few ventilation slits in the top of the pie crust.
Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Once the pie is done, remove it from the oven and put it on a cooling rack to cool. To serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with a lime twist.
- 12 cups grape mash
- 6 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 tbsp Clear Jel (optional)
- Combine 12 cups grape mash, 6 cups sugar, 3 tbsp lemon juice, and 6 tbsp Clear Jel (if you're using it) in a large stockpot. You can add more sugar if you like it sweeter; just add a little at a time until its the right flavor for you. You could also use honey or maple syrup but those will change the flavor of the filling so don’t add too much.
- Bring the grape pie filling to a boil over medium heat. The filling is thick, so stir it often to keep it from scorching.
- While the filling is simmering, go ahead and get the jars ready. Technically if you’re processing for longer than 10 minutes you don’t have to use sterilized jars but I still sterilize jars. I bring them to a boil in water with just a little splash of white vinegar (this helps keep your jars pretty if you have hard water).
- While the jars are sterilizing, wash and rinse the lids.
- Remove the empty jars from the water bath canner and fill them with the hot grape pie filling leaving a 1/4″ head space.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth and put he lids and bands on the jars.
- Put the jars of grape pie filling back into the water bath canner and process for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes pull them out of the water bath canner and let them cool. You’ll hear popping sounds as they cool and lids seal.
- When the jars have completely cooled remove the bands and check the seals. If one didn’t seal just put it in the refrigerator and use it first.
- Store the sealed jars in the pantry or wherever you store your home preserved food.
To freeze grape pie filling...
If you don't want to can the grape pie filling you can freeze it. To freeze grape pie filling put it in clean canning jars with 1" head space. (Large mouth jars work best for freezing). Loosely put lids on the jars and put them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day transfer the jars of grape pie filling to the freezer.
If you do not have Clear Jel on hand, do not add any thickener to the canned Grape Pie Filling.
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