How To Can Muscadine Jelly

Muscadine jelly is the perfect way to capture the taste of summer. Sweet and juicy with a hint of tartness, muscadines are a Southern staple. And while they may be delicious eaten out of hand, when made into jelly, they are truly transformational.

Here’s how to do it!

cans of muscadine jelly
cans of muscadine jelly

Why I Decided to Make Muscadine Jelly

It’s just the most awesome thing ever when you come upon free, organic food. It seems like the more people who know I preserve the more who bless me with unwanted produce.

It’s just the most awesome thing ever when you come upon free, organic food. It seems like the more people who know I preserve the more who bless me with unwanted produce.

A dear friend of mine has a neighbor who has in his yard the most glorious row of muscadine and scuppernong vines. They’ve been there forever… and he doesn’t use them!

Sure, he picks a handful here and there to snack on, but for the most part these beautiful grapes usually go to waste.

When my friend got permission from this neighbor to pick all she wanted from his vines, she included me in the hook-up. I promised the guy some jelly in exchange for his generosity.

You guys, you should see these vines! There is SO much fruit on there it’s almost overwhelming. You don’t know where to begin! Huge purple muscadines and smaller golden scuppernongs hang everywhere. You can practically milk them into a bucket.

harvested muscadines in containers
harvested muscadines in containers

So far, I’ve been to the man’s house twice and spent about an hour each time picking. And I’ve brought home about 8 gallons of gorgeous grapes. For the past couple of days, I’ve been busy canning grape juice and making muscadine jelly.

I still have about 3 gallons to get through, which I froze over the weekend ’cause I knew I wouldn’t get to them soon enough. I plan on picking some more this week if I’m able. I can’t believe how much more is left on the vines, and I know they won’t last too much longer so I’d better get them while I can.

The first day I went, I took Jada with me. She always enjoys when we pretend to be living in the wilderness, wild foraging for our survival. We picked a chilly day to go, knowing the bees wouldn’t bother us in cold weather.

We arrived at my friend’s house at about 8:30 in the morning, dressed warmly and with gallon sized buckets in our hands. Heading through her backyard, I spotted the open chain link fence to the neighbor’s yard which she’d instructed me to go through to find the vines.

She’d boasted of their abundance, but I was still shocked when I saw the clusters of muscadines with my own eyes. Jada squealed in excitement as we set to work.

As I filled my bucket, I couldn’t help but examine how the vines were trellised. They aren’t done like we did ours, straight across one line, but are sprawled out over about five lines creating a tunnel of dense leaves and fruit. It looks like the vines are growing over a short set of clotheslines.

The tunnel the vines created was really cool. It didn’t take Jada long to discover an entrance which she excitedly scrambled through.

Hidden behind a blanket of foliage, her voice came with delight as she exclaimed, “Mommy! There’s a ton of muscadines under here!”

And then she contented herself to sit and eat to her heart’s delight. I teased that she wasn’t much help, but it was great watching her enjoying the morning with me.

So far I’ve made 16 Half-Gallons of grape juice, and 14 pints of jelly. Speaking of which, here’s a Muscadine Jelly recipe you might like to try some time. It’s amazing.

What Are Muscadines?

Muscadines are a type of grape that is native to the southeastern United States. The grapes are usually large and have a thick skin. There are two types of muscadines- rotundifolia and aspersa. Rotundifolia muscadines are the most common type and have a spherical shape. Aspersa muscadines have an oval shape and are less sweet than rotundifolia. Muscadines are often used in wine, jelly, and jam.

The first documented mention of muscadines was in 1584 by Ralph Lane, an English explorer. Lane noted that the Native Americans he encountered in North Carolina were eating “a kind of grape [that] they do eate…which Grape is very good and well tastes”. The name “muscadin” is thought to come from the Latin word for fly (musca) because the grape was infested with flies when it was ripe. musca + dine = muscadin. The suffix -ine is used in botanical Latin to denote something that is related to or derived from something else. Therefore, the name “muscadin” literally means “fly grape” or “grape fly”.

Muscadines are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can build up and cause inflammation, which has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Muscadines are also a good source of fiber, vitamins C and E, copper, and manganese.

Muscadines can be eaten fresh off the vine, made into jelly or jam, or used to make wine. When choosing muscadines at the store, look for grapes that are plump with smooth skin. Avoid grapes with bruised skin or moldy spots. Grapes can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. To enjoy muscadines at their peak sweetness, allow them to sit out at room temperature for a few hours before eating.

General Tips for Making Muscadine Jelly

Here are a few tips for making the perfect muscadine jelly.

Fruit Should Be Ripe, But Not Overripe

The first step to making perfect muscadine jelly is to start with ripe fruit. You want the grapes to be soft to the touch and slightly squishy, but you don’t want them to be overripe. If you use fruit that is too ripe, you’ll end up with a jelly that is too sweet.

If You Use Overripe Fruit, You’ll Need More Pectin

If you do end up using overripe fruit, you can still make delicious jelly, you’ll just need to add more pectin to the recipe. Pectin is a substance found in fruit that helps viscous liquids turn into gel states.

If Your Fruit is Low in Acid, Try Adding More Lemon Juice

Another reason your jelly might not set is if your grapes are low in acid. Grapes naturally contain acid, but some types of grapes have less acid than others. If you find that your grapes are low in acid, try adding more lemon juice to the recipe. The added acidity will help the pectin set properly.

Do Not Ever Reduce the Amount of Sugar in the Recipe

A common mistake people make when making your grape jelly is reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe. Sugar is not only delicious, but it also acts as a preservative. Without enough sugar, your jelly will not have a long shelf life and it will not taste as good either.

If Your Jelly is Too Thin, it Could Be Because You Overcooked the Pectin

Another common mistake people make when making jelly is overcooking the pectin. Pectin should only be cooked for a minute or two; any longer and it will start to break down and your jelly will be runny.

Try Different Brands of Pectin to Find the Ones You Like

Not all brands of pectin are created equal. Some brands work better than others depending on the type of fruit you’re using and how ripe it is. Experiment with different brands until you find one that you like best.

Don’t Use a Pressure Canner – the Gel Won’t Set

Finally, don’t use a pressure canner when preserving your muscadine jelly; use a boiling water bath instead. The high heat of a pressure canner will cause the gel state of your jelly to break down and it will no longer set properly.

What Else Can You Do With Muscadine Grapes?

While muscadine grapes are most commonly used to make jelly, there are many other creative uses for them as well! Here are 10 things you can do with muscadines grapes (besides making jelly):

  • Make muscadine wine.
  • Add them to a salad.
  • Use them to make homemade jam or preserves.
  • Bake them into a pie or cobbler.
  • Make a muscadine smoothie or milkshake.
  • Use them in place of raisins in baked goods like cookies or bread.
  • Add them to chicken or pork dishes for a touch of sweetness.
  • Freeze them and use them as ice cubes in your favorite beverage.
  • Make homemade muscadine juice or syrup.
  • Dry them and use them as snacks or toppings for yogurt or cereal.

Can Muscadine Juice Be Canned?

Muscadine juice can be canned, and it makes a great addition to any pantry. This shelf-stable option is perfect for those who want to enjoy the taste of muscadines all year long. Canned muscadine juice also makes a great gift for the holidays or any special occasion.

To make canned muscadine juice, start by boiling the grapes in water for about 20 minutes. This will help to release the juices from the grapes. Next, strain the grapes and place them in a blender with some sugar and water. Blend until smooth, then pour the mixture into jars or bottles.

Be sure to leave about an inch of headspace at the top of each container. seal the containers with lids and rings, then process in a boiling-water canner for about 10 minutes. Let the jars cool completely before storing in a cool, dark place. Enjoy your homemade muscadine juice!

Canning Muscadine Pie Filling

The muscadine grape is larger than your average concord grape. They have thick skins and a slightly musky flavor. The Muscadine is also high in sugar, which makes it perfect for canning and baking.

While you can eat Muscadines fresh off the vine, they are often made into jams, jellies, and pies. One of the best things about muscadine pie is that it requires no added sugar because the grapes are so sweet on their own.

If you are looking for a unique twist on a classic dessert, then you should definitely try making a muscadine pie this fall!


  • Canning jars pints or half-pint jars
  • lids
  • bands
  • wide mouth funnel
  • Cheesecloth
  • Dish towel
  • Large bowl
  • potato masher
  • large stockpot
  • small pot
  • Jar lifter
  • metal spoon
  • water bath canner


  • 1 gallon muscadine grapes
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 pack dry pectin like Sure-Jell, that's 1.75 oz.


  • Wash the muscadines well, removing any stems and leaves.
  • Pour the grapes into a large pot and add just enough water to cover the grapes by two inches.
  • Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the grapes are tender (about 30 min.).
  • Do NOT Drain. Using a potato masher, mash the grapes very well. You can use a food mill to separate the juice from the pulp, though I haven’t found this step necessary.
  • Pour the juice out of the pot and into another container (I like using a gallon mason jar), straining to remove all skin and seeds. You should end up with at least 6 cups of juice. Return the strained juice back to the pot.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the pectin and 1/4 c. sugar; add mixture to juice and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add remaining sugar, stirring to dissolve, and bring back to a full boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer over medium-low heat. You should continue to see small bubbles popping as it cooks. Allow to simmer for about 15 min.
  • While the liquid is cooking, make sure your jars are sterilized and remain hot until ready to use. Also have your lids in simmering water (do not boil).
  • Using a cold spoon, test the jelly by scooping a small amount of the liquid out and allowing it to cool at room temperature for a few minutes. Continue simmering while you wait.
    When the jelly sets (gets gel-like) on the spoon, you know it’sready. If it remains runny, allow the liquid to simmer for 5-10 moreminutes and then try the spoon test again until it sets after coolingto touch.
  • Using a funnel and ladle, fill hot jars with hot liquid to 1/2″- 1/4″ from the rim. Wipe rim with wet rag to remove anything sticky, then place the two piece lids on the jars and screw tight to seal.
  • Using a jar lifter, gently lower filled jars into hot water in a water bath canner. Make sure there is enough water in the canner to cover the jars by 1-2 inches.
  • When the canner is filled, cover with lid and bring to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 10 min, then remove the jars from the canner using a jar lifter.
  • Allow the jars to cool at room temp for 24 hours before testing the lids to make sure they are sealed properly. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge.

How Long Does Muscadine Jelly Last?

When stored properly, muscadine jelly can last for up to 1 year. To store your muscadine jelly, place it in a dark, cool location such as a pantry or cupboard. Be sure to tighten the lid on the jelly jar so that air cannot get in and spoil the contents. You can also place your muscadine jelly in the refrigerator, which will extend its shelf life by a few weeks.

If you notice that your muscadine jelly has started to mold, throw it away immediately. Mold can cause food poisoning if ingested. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating moldy food, seek medical attention immediately.


How do you get the juice out of muscadine jelly?

The key to getting the perfect consistency is to carefully monitor the temperature and stirring frequently. Once it reaches the desired thickness, the jelly is poured into jars and sealed.

Can you make crockpot muscadine jelly?

Crockpot muscadine jelly is a type of fruit spread made from muscadine grapes, sugar, and pectin. The ingredients are combined in a slow cooker and cooked on low heat for several hours.

The finished product is thick and spreadable, with a deep purple color and a sweet-tart flavor. Crockpot muscadine jelly is delicious on toast or biscuits, or even mixed into yogurt or oatmeal.

Can you make muscadine chutney?

Muscadine chutney is a type of preserve that is made with muscadine grapes, vinegar, sugar, and spices. The chutney can be used as a condiment or spread, and it pairs well with meats, cheeses, and breads.

To make muscadine chutney, the grapes are first crushed and then simmered with vinegar, sugar, and spices until thickened. The chutney can be stored in jars for up to six months.

I just love muscadine jelly and juice. What’s your favorite way to use them?

40 thoughts on “How To Can Muscadine Jelly”

  1. I’d like to know if liquid pectin (Certo) can be used for muscadine jelly and if so, how much? All of these recipes call for the powdered sure jell. Thanks in advance!

  2. i have made juice from from the muscdines and have strained it twice. it seems thick. is it suppose to be that way, have not made jelly yet

  3. I made 2 runs of jelly following the recipe and mine have the consistency of sticky fruit candy….like a half melted fruit roll up consistency and it’s not clear like my jelly I made previously. I was told I should have mixed the dry pectin with a little of the hot juice making it a liquid before I put in the juice or to use liquid pectin. Never had this problem before. Ideas??

    • Gently smash the fruit in the cooking pot. You don’t want to smash up the seeds or apply too much pressure to the skins. All you are doing is making sure that all the grapes have burst. After you cook the grapes, pour the liquid into a sturdy cheesecloth bag and suspend the bag over a bowl large enough to capture the juice that is filtered through the cheesecloth. Never squeeze the fruit in the cheesecloth to release more liquid or it will make your jelly cloudy and sometimes causes a bitter flavor.

    • This recipe has too much juice for the amount of sugar used. That is why the additional boiling/simmering is needed.

  4. We just bought land and found muscadine grapes…. we’ve started our first batch of wine and made 10 jars of jelly. So excited!

  5. I am going to grind the whole grape in one batch since muscadine grape seed is supposed to be a cure for cancer( don’t ask me where that came from but several people who came to get some of my grapes said. I make jelly every year and have ground the hulls into the jelly;too. I don’t know if I can grind up the whole seed but I’m trying.

  6. This is the first time I have had enough muscadines to actually make jelly or jam. I seem to follow recipes that I find. Even yours is about the same. I may have even used less water but after all the work I only got liquid. It doesn’t even seem to come to a syrup. I have never had this problem. I have had a batch or two that was not as thick as I would like but not this thin. If anyone reads this, any ideas? I used about 5 lbs. of muscadines, I may haave made mine with more pulp than most instead of straining it through cheese cloth I just strained it through a colander. 6 1/2 cups of sugar,barely covering with water, pectin and it made 7 jars but is almost as liquid as i started with. It seemed to be getting thick as it cooked but after cooling it looks like water in the jars.

    • I’ve had this happen with concord grapes, Chuck. I made jelly out of them and it turned out to be more like a syrup. Over time though it did solidify in storage. I’m not sure why it happens. Hopefully your jars will get more firm as they sit for a while. If you’re sure you used enough pectin I’m not sure what else might have caused it to be so runny. Give it time and see what happens. 🙂

      • I will try this time. The first set I tried over again which I was told had worked for an older lady that had made jellies and jams for years but the same thing happen so I just boiled it to jelly temperature at 220 and it worked fine but then the next batch, the same thing. I just wonder if the grape family has more water than other fruits. I even tried the lemon juice addition but no help. This batch, out of 5 jars I have 2 that seem to set and 2 that are more syrup and the one I was going to keep in the fridge is actually the most liquid. It seems to have no rhyme or reason. I have figured out that covering the grapes with water is not good. I have gone back to adding just a cup of water at the most. Frustrating I guess more than anything. I have this problem with everything being just right, I guess one of those perfectionist, so I have to figure out what is happening. Besides, I would love to sell some but it would be hard if it is not jelly. Thanks though. I will let this one sit since it seems to be getting closer.

        • experiencing the exact same thing today…rebatched and even though jars are cooling, the same thing is happening…i have another rebatch waiting on the stove now and will add more pectin (sugar free now), and let it boil longer to get rid of more water, very frustrating. how many rebatches can i do, when does the additional pectin change the flavor? cause im heading there.

  7. Thank you for posting this recipe. We harvested about 10 lbs of fruit yesterday, was up late last night extracting juice! I’ve just dropped 7 jars into the water bath. There always seems to be variables when making jelly, I sprinkled in a little extra pectin as a chilled spoon indicated my batch was still a bit thin (I’m famous for jellies that don’t set right!). Ever since my “blueberry incident” I tend to be at the ready with extra pectin. Someone once told me that a way to test for the right amount of pectin was to keep adding until the runoff from a dipped metal ladle forms two drip lines. ( I didn’t use that technique this time, rather I chilled a spoonful in the freezer to see how it would set up).
    As always hoping it works!

    • I make all my jellies the “old fashion” way. After making the juice, measure and add that amt. of sugar. Low boil until it gets to 122 on candy thermometer. I prefer not to use pectin. Also, I don’t process in got water bath. Just put in jars. I have never had any that didn’t set!!

      • I also make my juice from all the grapes I’ve picked, and mash with a sieve and pestle – using the pulp. It’s good, makes a thicker jelly, almost like a jam. Then measure 5 1/2 – 6 cups in boiler with 1 pkg. pectin, constantly stirring, and boil hard, then add 7 cups sugar, at once, stirring constantly while bringing to a boil, then boil hard for 1 minute. It has never failed, and makes 4 1/2 pints, or if using 6 cups of juice, it makes 5 pints. For the bronze grapes, I add a few drops of red food coloring to make a prettier color. I have never processed my jelly, but sterilize every utensil that touches the jelly. Been doing this for about 28 years, never had any of it go bad. Best eaten within a year, so flavor and color remains strong.

  8. I Did Exactly What You Said To The T. But all I have is syrup. Already set for a week so I added more Sur gel still nothing. What did I do wrong?

  9. I cooked my muscadines, strained them and my juice is ready to make jelly. Question is , I have too much juice and no time to process it right now. Can I freeze the juice and make jelly from it later? Do you think freezing will alter the taste when I make jelly later

  10. I am SO glad I found your post today. We have been invited to go and pick muscadines at a friend’s house tomorrow morning and I am looking for recipes to use them up in. I haven’t eaten many since a man from church, years ago, used to load up the back of his pick up with muscadines and scuppernongs from his farm and give them away. We kids adored those days!

    I also have to agree that while we are trying to build up our little homestead with some fruits, it is such a blessing when others know that you can and preserve and give of their bounty also!

  11. One quick question. Where in the recipe are you using the potato masher? I’m assuming its during the cooking of the pulp? I may have missed, but want to be sure I get this right as I just got a load of muscadines and soooooo miss eating fresh jelly!

  12. Thanks Kendra! I’ll let you know what I find. We have a grapevine on our hew homestead, but I have no idea what kind, etc. These are great ideas on how to make good use of the grapes!

  13. Kendra, hi! Question for you: Are the muscadine grapes a sweeter grape, or more sour. The reason I ask is that I’m hoping for a juice recipe that I don’t have to add sugar to. That certain store bought brand that starts with a W says that it’s 100% juice with no sugar added, but are the concord grapes really that sweet? Or is there just a different juicing/canning process?


    • Laurie B,

      It might depend upon the type of Muscadine you use. There are many different varieties (some best for jellies, some best for wines, etc). They are definitely sweet, not sour at all when ripe. I tried some of the juice without sugar, and it wasn’t good (though I do have a major sweet tooth, lol). You’d probably just have to experiment or ask around 🙂

  14. Wow! what a blessing Kendra! It looks like you guys have a whole lot of grapes! LOL I love how you make home made grape juice. I saw it in another post. Its so pretty looking in the jar too. 🙂 I have been meaning to e-mail you back but.. have been crazy busy! Im sure you know all about it. I will soon. Many blessings!



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