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When I was much younger my grandmother was always complaining that she could never find grape preserves anymore. That was maybe 20-30 years ago.

I recently started looking for grape preserves and am unable to find them. I can find black currant preserves, blueberry preserves and just about any other fruit under the sun. But why is grape preserves so hard to find?

I thought maybe it has something to do with fermentation and wine? But I cannot find any information. I am not talking about grape jelly, I am specifically talking about grape preserves.

Other than making them myself, where do you find any in a store?

** If you do not know the difference between jelly and preserve, you can read about it here.

  • In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. Jelly has the smoothest consistency and is usually clear.
  • In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit. This makes jam less stiff than jelly.
  • In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a gel or syrup. Preserves will have more fruit in them than jam will. Marmalade is a type of preserve with citrus fruits in it.
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    What's the difference between a 'preserve' & a 'jelly'? Also, this is probably unanswerable, without recourse to the manufacturers. 'Why?' questions don't really work on stack exchange. – Tetsujin Sep 19 at 18:22
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    @Tetsujin I can't speak for other countries but, in the US, there is a great difference between jelly, jam, and preserves. I do remember many years back, relatives making grape preserves, but usually with scuppernong grapes. Wasn't anything like concord or other purple grapes. – Cindy Sep 19 at 19:52
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    @D3vtr0n Where are you located? Based on your comments I'm thinking the US, but not sure. – Cindy Sep 19 at 19:58
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    A friendly reminder from the moderator on duty: We do have a Code of Conduct and we insist that you remain friendly and civil. – Stephie Sep 19 at 21:13
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    @D3vtr0n I recommend this and this. Or hover over the downvote arrow and read the pop-up. You have to accept downvoting as part of our model and no, it’s neither unfriendly nor impolite. – Stephie Sep 19 at 21:22
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It could also possibly be because the modern varieties of grapes commercially grown for eating do not make a good jelly or jam.

Having made jam with a variety of grapes I have found that most of the grapes we buy as table grapes make a fairly ordinary jam whereas if you can get hold of older cultivars, grape jam/jelly is an amazing preserve.

  • I agree, I think it might have something to do with grape supply and quality/quantity. I can definitely find grape preserves at farmers markets (homemade style) but I really want to know why its not commercially available. I have emailed both Smuckers and the Bonne Maman but havent heard anything back yet. – D3vtr0n Sep 24 at 4:33
  • Your answer is the closest to the real answer. +1. The skins and seeds are unpleasant for commercial grape preserves. – D3vtr0n Sep 30 at 18:34
  • I typically see scuppernog or muscadine preserves near me ... but they're sold as "scuppernog preserves" not "scuppernog grape preserves", it requires the person buying the preserves to know that scuppernog is a variety of grape. – Joe Sep 30 at 19:55
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TL;DR: likely because demand was too low to sustain commercial distribution

Barring any relationship to a specific historical incident, it's very difficult to find out why a specific food is no longer commercially produced. In the absence of specific reasons, we can see a number of contributing factors as to why grape preserves would have gone off the market:

  • In the US, sales of preserves in general trail sales of jams and jellies considerably. Grape jelly eclipses sales of grapes in other forms (sorry all refs behind paywalls). This distribution is very skewed with 9 varieties constituting 80% of the market. So it could be quite possible for grape preserves to "fall off" the bottom of the market.
  • For historical reasons having to do with the Concord Grape, Americans are used to eating their grapes as jelly, so preserves may seem quite oddball and hard to sell.
  • From what I could gather from the one grape preserve recipe I found, the runny texture of grape preserves are possibly off-putting to most consumers.

Not terribly satisfying, I know, but that may be as much information as is out there.

  • Most people in get thoroughly tired of grape jelly by their teen years. The stuff is so ubiquitous as to be noxious. I make current and plum orange marmalades myself. Plenty of pectin in the orange skin. – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 20 at 4:47
  • This is fascinating info for a Brit, one who has never previously heard of grape jelly, nor ever eaten any kind of peanut butter & jelly sandwich in their life. It's simply not a thing over here. US-style jellies are very hard to find, other than imports on Amazon. You cannot buy it in supermarkets. (& that's excluding the fact that what we call jelly, you would call jello). We do 'jam' with a similar definition to the US & preserve/conserve which has less sugar. Jam must have 60% sugar to legally be called jam, so the high fruit content ones cannot be called jam & must be called preserve. – Tetsujin Sep 20 at 6:33
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    There actually are several grape "preserves" on the market, but they are low volume and not readily found. You can locate them places like Amazon. In truth though, IMO they rely on there being no legal definition in the US of the terms. I know them as the OP and which is most common usage, jelly is a clear jell, jam includes pump and often seeds, preserve is chunks and attempts to preserve the essences of fresh fruit. What is sold as preserve I have never seen in the US as more than jam at best, and see no way of making an appealing preserve especially from Concords. – dlb Sep 20 at 12:34
  • @Tetsujin it is really weird. If you want to really observe the bizarro nature of American food projects in action, look up "cider". – FuzzyChef Sep 20 at 20:24
  • er, that's "products" – FuzzyChef Sep 20 at 20:48
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For what it is worth, in case you want to make your own grape jam.

The recipe calls for basically four things: grapes, sugar, lemon, butter. And as I have gotten a lot of recipes off of SeriousEats.com, I figure this might be worth a look.

Check it out here.

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I received the following response from Bonne Maman in France

Dear Mr. XXX,

Thank you for contacting Bonne Maman®. We are always happy to hear from our consumers. You are the reason Bonne Maman is such a successful brand.

Bonne Maman is owned by Andros SNC, a privately owned, family run company, situated in the southwest of France. Our products are manufactured and packed in the town of Biars, in the Lot region, and shipped all over the world.

All our Bonne Maman® Preserves have seeds as the recipes are made using whole fruits. The products feature trademark pieces of fruit, along with the seeds in all of our Bonne Maman flavors of Preserves and Spreads.

Bonne Maman® Jellies are made with the juice of fruit and therefore have neither large pieces of fruit nor seeds. This is true with Bonne Maman as well as all products labeled “Jelly”. Consumers who prefer a smooth, consistent texture, often prefer jellies vs. preserves or spreads.

A sure way to distinguish between our Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies is the color of the cap of the jar. Our Preserves and Spreads (with seeds) have the red and white cap, our Jellies (no seeds) have the navy blue and white cap. The flavors available in the USA as Jellies are: Muscat Grape, Redcurrant, Blackcurrant and Blackberry. You may find that they are not as widely available in stores as the Bonne Maman Preserves, but you can find them on our online store, www.bonnemaman.us, click “Shop Now” at the top of the page.

Bonne Maman has never made grape preserves. Seeds and skin pieces would be too big and make it unpleasant.

I hope this answers your question.

Sincerely,

Christine

Andros Foods USA Inc.

www.bonnemaman.us

The simple answer is:

Seeds and skin pieces would be too big and make it unpleasant.

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