How-To: Fall Concord Grape Jam

Concord grapes are a special fall-time treat. This is the first year ever the vine in my backyard yielded an appetizing looking crop, so I gave jam making a go. You probably don’t want to eat this kind of grape raw- they are not very sweet, have seeds, and the texture may -ahem- not suit you. My first batch of jam came out tasty, but it wasn’t until the second batch, the one I will share with you today, that I feel I got some amazingly delicious results. My vine didn’t give me enough grapes for a second batch, I think it’s given up for the season, so I gave Wildwood Market in Fountain Square a call and sure enough, they had the goods. If you haven’t checked them out yet, they’ll soon become your go-to spot for seasonal and local foods.

grape, grape vine, homegrown, concord grapes, bunch

My vine at home. For some reason, they like to go from looking beautiful but green (left) to shriveled and dead (right) without warning.

purple grapes, plate, concord grapes, bunches of grapes

And then there’s THESE beauties. These are so jam-able. When they’re sun-ripened they smell absolutely amazing, like the grapey-est grape you can imagine. Like grape soda, like grape skittles. But without the corn syrup.

I used about 3 pounds of grapes, which I think is a manageable amount and I’ll base this recipe and process off of that quantity.

grape skin, processing concord grapes, jam making

First give your grapes a good rinse. Grab a bowl and the bowl to your food processor (or mixer). Then, SQUEEZE! That’s right. Just give these grapes a little squeeze and the inside pops right out like a slippery little eyeball. Throw the skins in the processor and the insides and juices into the bowl. This is the perfect job for little hands, too! The more help the merrier; this took me and a couple helpers about 30 minutes to finish.

grape jam skins, sugar, process

Blend all the skins in the food processor with 1 cup of sugar until liquid. Then, get your finger and taste this amazing, bright, incredibly delicious concoction and you will have no doubt all that time you just spent skinning grapes was not in vein.

simmer, grapes, concord grapes, jam process

Add the mixture and peeled grapes to a pot and bring it up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Try not to let any escape.

ingredients, homemade jam, concord grape jam

Science: grapes do not contain a large amount of natural pectin, which is the traditional jelling agent for jellies. You can buy store bought pectin, but I was suspicious of this notion and with a little internet (read: highly reliable) research I was confirmed. The great thing is, you totally don’t need it. Apples just so happen to have a lot of natural pectin, so I chopped one up in the processor and added it to the pot. It worked perfectly. Also add one tablespoon of lemon juice and another cup of sugar. I know, that sounds like a lot of sugar. If I make this again I would try using honey instead. The first time I made it I used just one cup of sugar and I have to admit it was a bit tangy and this second batch turned out much tastier.

strain, purple, grape juice, concord grape jam

After simmering for about 20 minutes, strain everything into a bowl. You’ll have to spend some time moving it around and pushing it through with a spatula. When you’ve had about enough of that, pour the strained liquid back into the pot and continue simmering.

test, jam, plate

So here’s a funny little trick. Stick a plate in the freezer and let it get nice and cold. To determine if your jam has jammed, drop a little dot onto the cold plate, replace it in the freezer, and wait one minute. When you slide your finger across it, it should feel rubbery and have a bit of a film on it. On the left you can see that it’s not ready. The photo on the right is how it looked when I decided it was ready. Its nice and thick and built up on my finger. This took about 30 minutes of simmering after the straining.

jars, jam, can, grape jam, concord grape jam, fall jam

Pour the liquid into jars and refrigerate overnight. I’m not going through the canning process with these, so they will need to stay in the fridge at all times. I’ve had mine in the fridge several weeks and it’s still delicious.

jam, bread, spread, fall jam, grape, concord, how to

jam, grapes, fall, how to make concord grape jam

You can see the beautiful texture I achieved (ribbon please) using just the apple. This stuff tastes absolutely amazing! In fact you might like it so much you’ll start making PB&J’s again and feel the need to get yourself some jam-swag. You’ve come to the right blog. Please peruse the jam-flavored handmade items available at Homespun, and don’t forget to tag us in  your jam-making adventures @homespunindy!

Jam locally jammed by Home Ec., PB&J earrings by Rachel O’s Fabulous Whimsy, letterpressed canning labels by Red Bird Ink, and little jar of jam (or juice) by Cordial Kitten. Lastly, there’s a recipe for blackberry jam in the book Apartment Gardening by Amy Pennington which is chuck full of useful stuff.

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ICYMI: This Week at the Shop:
September 15th

We’re back with another edition of ICYMI – This Week at the Shop for September 15th! And look who else is back, Queen B, Malala, Ruth, and more! Michelle Valansky of Creature Type has created this power packed coloring book full of 90+ pages of activities and badass-ery. Yes, I want to spot the differences between the two Amy’s (RIP girl).


Let your little ones creep along in new onesies and t-shirts from Paper Elm. And while the little ones play, parents get to relax, right? Well, if you get a minute, you should enjoy a cup of Bhota Chai (formerly Impeccable Chai) from Sobro Cafe in your brand new leather mason jar travel mug from LM Products. – Coolest parents on the block.

If you’re in need of a gift for the history buff in your life, look no further than the new designs from Rachel O’s Fabulous Whimsy. Each piece is made with a vintage Indiana map from 1899 or 1916!


What I’m using to color my Boss Babes coloring book; rainbow crayons from Art 2 the Extreme, of course. Yes, the kids would like these too.

New vendor, Hunky Dory Studio, puts more than Indy icons on her fused glass menagerie, but her inventory is so large, it’ll take me more than one week to show you it all! Stay tuned!

I love handmade soap. I love pretty, handmade soap. And I especially love pretty, handmade soap made using local ingredients from other local businesses. So many wins.

Harts Handmade Naturals combines beer from Indiana City Brewing Co. to bring you their Shadow Boxer and Yacht Rock scents, while beans from Tinker Coffee are used to create two other aromatic soaps in their line. Going to go shower now…

ICYMI: Upcoming Workshops:

Remember those macrame classes I was telling you about last week? Well, they’re nearly one week away and tickets are still available. Look how happy you could be after you make a macrame plant hanger or wall hanging! PS – the plant and pot are included in the price of the plant hanger class!

Columbus based fiber artist Sarah Harste is just the cutest and she’s driving across state lines to come hang with you! Both classes are also BYOB. I’ve given you so many reasons to sign up. So go do it here (plant hanger) or here (wall hanging). Get knotty!


One more thing guys, -you need to join our rewards program, like yesterday. You earn points with every dollar you spend in store and those points become cash you can redeem on future purchases. We’ll also send you a birthday coupon and a discount just for signing up. I know, you’re running to the store right now.

Well that’s it for this week’s ICYMI! If you get a chance to stop in and find something cute (like that’s hard), take a photo with your purchase and tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for a chance to be featured on our page!

Wishing you a happy, handmade weekend!

-Amanda D.

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ICYMI: This Week at the Shop:
September 8th

The temperatures may be droppin’ but our shelves are hoppin’. – See what we did there?  We’re starting a new ICYMI: This Week at the Shop blog full of new product, sales floor happenings, and store events!

I’m Amanda D., resident Operations Manager (product photographer, social media slinger, event/gallery coordinator, and all things Homespun-related). I’ll be your new weekly author, compiling all the things I’ve photographed and posted in the last week (like the new city flags above from People for Urban Progress), right here, so you can catch up on your weekly Homespun digest!

So here you go, ICYMI: This Week at the Shop: September 8th! Enjoy!

I don’t know about you, but this chill in the air has me revving up my bathtub.  Good thing we’ve been restocked with new bath and body products from favorite vendors like Bitchstix, Pure Grace Soaps, and Brooklyn Candle Studio.  Yes, that’s a cupcake bath bomb. Someone get that water running stat.

You know I couldn’t resist a good ol’ fashioned fall themed chalkboard. And an Indy one too, of course.  These are always fun for me to do, especially when the whole staff gets together to help me come up with our handy little slogans. You can thank Key Holder, Claire, for the awesome “Back Homes(spun) again in Indiana” idea. High fives to Claire!

Did you know that about half of our 400 vendors in store are local to Indianapolis or Indiana? Did you also know I feature my own arms and hands in a lot of our social media photos – ha.

Pro tip: that B. Happy Peanut Butter is absolutely divine on a s’more. You can thank me later. New leather Indiana cuffs from Indypsire Art have arrived, along with a new Pride Lego Art design from Smitten by Kat.  Show off to your out-of-town friends with the Indianapolis City Guide from Printtext. That black cover is limited edition, so you should come buy it now.

We had an AMAZING turnout during our most recent First Friday gallery opening featuring the work of IPS Center for Inquiry School 2 Art Club! The students created work about what Indy and Love, both, mean to them. After recent world events, the students decided to donate 100% of the proceeds from the works sold to non profit agencies. If this doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will.

The remaining work will be on display through September and October. Come support these talented, compassionate students and the causes they care about so much!

Upcoming Workshops:

You still have time to get knotty with us in our upcoming Macrame Workshops with guest instructor, Sarah Harste! Sarah is a Columbus based fiber artist who loves all things woven! She’ll be hosting two workshops in store on Saturday September 23rd. Take one or take both! For more information and tickets for the Macrame Plant Hanger class, click here. And for the Macrame Wall Hanging class, here. Get your tickets while you still have time!

That concludes our ICYMI: Week of September 8th! Keep up with our blog so you don’t miss out and be sure to keep following us on social media – where you can see things in (nearly) real-time!

We hope to see you in the shop soon!
-Amanda D.

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Meet Your Maker: Solder & Sage

You can see the feeling of peaceful ease with which Katy Froeter of Solder & Sage imbues each piece of jewelry she makes. The forms and materials convey a sense of movement or solidity, always simplicity. It’s buying handmade at it’s finest; learn more about her process and experience working in Chicago, IL.

ring, handmade, solder and sage1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

As a jeweler, I focus on lost wax casting, which is carving design in wax and then casting, where the wax is lost and replaced with metal. I accompany the cast items with hand-formed and solder pieces.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

I make things because to me, it is one of the truest forms of meditation I experience. It is one of the rare places that I am able to completely focus on what I am doing – creating little bits of beauty for beautiful people.

jewelry, katy froeter, ring, handmade

3| What do you love about the jewelry making process?

I love the entire process of jewelry making. Soldering and casting are probably my favorite parts. The idea that I can heat metal and form something completely different always amazes me.

 

4| Describe your aesthetic. Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

My aesthetic has been described to me as Scandinavian design. I love creating clean lines in large shapes with a focus on minimalism, so I can easily see correlation. My inspiration comes from my experiences ranging from traveling, spending time in nature, and the silence of daily life.

jewelry, solder, necklace, handmade

5| What do you love about your job?

That even after 5+ years, everyday is different.

 

6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

Being an artist was always in my in blood, although I didn’t think that it was a possibility to become self-sufficient at it. Eventually I realized that life is tough, so I decide to accept the struggle and choose to struggle at what I want most in this world and be willing to let everything else go. Getting laid off from my dream job, fired from a part-time restaurant gig and quitting a bunch of okay jobs because they weren’t the right fit also helped me be able to take the plunge from part-time to full-time.

solder, process, jewelry, handmade

7| How do you work, and where?

For years I worked in a collective metals studio that was beyond helpful in getting going. Now I have my own studio, which is instrumental in getting production work done. For me a big part of the creative process is creating empty space/time for something creative to grow. So the solitude of working independently greatly helps to facilitate that process.

 

8| Describe a day in the life.

Every day is different. Although there is an outline that I like to adhere to.

Wake up and meditate for about an hour.

Followed by a protein shake and vitamins.

Next are emails and any other computer work I need to get done.

Then I will head to my studio and do my best to check out from email/social media, etc.

If I am really on my game, I take a late afternoon run. (Typically I am not on my game.)

My nights are often filled with classes from metalsmithing to ceramics, movies with friends, or family dinners.

solder, process, jewelry, metal, handmade, necklace

9| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?

No one! My work is an expression of my life, so having to live in someone else’s place seems sad and lonely. Although I would be best friends with Banksy in a heart beat! Banksy – if you are reading – I promise to keep your secret safe!

 

earrings, brass, minimal, solder and sage, handmade

10| What makes a handmade object valuable?

The intention put into that piece and the atmosphere around it. I think that there is something special about buying something made with love. It helps to remind us where, who we were with and what we were feeling when we got it. It’s those memories that are the most valuable, so the work needs to last a long time!

 

11| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

A beat up 1969 Montgomery Ward: Retail and Catalog Store Facilities map, I brought it with my oldest sister at the Randolph Street Market in Chicago. It was of one the first pieces of “art” that I ever purchased and well before I had any serious intentions of striking out on my own. Now I look at it and see all of the places that I have been able to travel for work and think of all the lovely people I have met along the way. Even my small hometown of 15,000 people somehow made it on this map; it couldn’t be more perfect to track my life.

necklace, brass, minimal, solder, and sage, handmade

12| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

I’m shy. Which always receives a hard, “No you’re not!”

 

13| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

  1. I am the youngest of 4 girls.
  2. My sister just older than me was in some sort of non-fatal (or very serious) swimming lesson incident when she was learning to swim at the park district. So my mom never took me to get swimming lessons because she didn’t feel as though it was safe enough.
  3. When I was 5 years old at a family vacation in North Carolina at the pool, I got tired of only being able to use floaties to swim. Without telling anyone, I proceeded to the deep end of the pool, took off my floaties and pushed myself from wall to wall at the corner of the pool until I figured out how to swim. That pretty much sums up my life.

Want to see these beauties in person? We’ve got a selection of her work here in the shop, and you can find her online on her website or Instagram.

 

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This Week at the Shop: August 28th

Fall is coming because: 1. it gets down to the 60s at night (I don’t care if it is in the 80’s during the day!) and 2. look at our new window display! AH!!! I am beyond ready for crunchy leaves. Our knitwear is currently being prepped for display, so until then we have a beautiful line up of new goodies to share with you.

New

New chair prints by Lisa Kessler Studio.

Vintage maps of Indianapolis printed on really nice canvas sheets by Arterx.

Handcrafted in Bloomington, IN, we’re loving the local love in these puzzles by Press Puzzles.

Beautiful new soy candles from JKM Soy.

New deodorant scent from Teehaus Bath & Body, it smells amazing. Another adorable print from Lisa Kessler Studio, and we’re in love with this decadent new jewelry line by Fulcrum Jewelry Studio.

Lots of great prints for the kitchen (or anywhere) from Art Food Collective, and more framed beauties from Lisa Kessler Studio. Restock on Indiana pillows by Lois & Ruby and there are just too many applications for this card tag by Igloo Letterpress.

Restock from Pure Grace Soap, bath bombs and cupcake bombs!

The most amazing metal pins from 1606 Supply Co., collect ’em all.

 

Coming Up

First Friday Featuring CFI 2 Art Club: Friday, September 1st 6-8pm: Here at Homespun, we’re passionate about supporting creative minds, especially the creative, young minds of our local community. We invite you to come celebrate a truly unique First Friday show featuring the Art Club of local Indianapolis Public School, Center for Inquiry School 2!

Workshop: Macrame Hanging Planter: Saturday, September 23rd, 1-3pm AND 4-6:30pm: Macrame is back with a modern twist! Join us for this macrame wall hanging workshop, where you’ll make your own macrame masterpiece from start to finish. In this 2.5 hour workshop led by Columbus fiber artist Sarah Harste, you’ll learn three different knots and how to design your own unique wall hanging. Your choice of copper pieces and wood beads also available to dress your wall hanging up!

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Winter Market: Friday, December 1st, 5-10pm: Come join us for contemporary craft, holiday shopping, and fun on Friday December 1st during our 2017 INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Winter Market!

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