What Makes a Great Grape Jelly?

Concord grape juice should be the lead intensity in both the aroma and flavor of a high-quality concord grape jelly fruit spread. There may also be candy, cooked grape and citrus notes present, but they should not be higher in intensity than the concord grape juice. There should not be “other fruit” intensities present.

Sweet should be the lead taste intensity, followed by sour.

The texture of the jelly should be smooth, not overly lumpy. Some astringency is expected and the dissolve should be short in length.

When the jelly is eaten in application with peanut butter and bread, the concord grape juice flavor intensity should be balanced with the peanut – not dominate nor be dominated by it. The jelly texture should be such that the sandwich remains intact after the first bite – the jelly “clumps” should not fall out of the sandwich when bitten.

Tasting terms

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • sweet intensity

    Measures the perceived natural or artificial sweetness in a particular food. Example: Apple cinnamon cereal will have a high sweet intensity.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.