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Jim Hunter
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Sea Grape Recipes  —  Coccoloba unifera

This native of south Florida bears grape-like fruit borne in bunches.  Unlike grapes, the fruit ripens a few at a time and must be shaken from the stem.  Many people put a cloth under the tree and shake it to dislodge the ripe grapes.  The skin is tough and purple covering a thin pulp around a large seed.  The most effective use of it is for Sea Grape jelly as it contains a large amount of pectin.



  Sea Grape Juice    

Preparing Sea Grape Juice
Pick Sea Grapes when they have just turned purple, but include a few that do not show color.  The easiest way to pick them is to hold a pail or basket under a cluster and gently run your hand over the cluster.  This will dislodge the ripe fruits and leave the green ones to ripen for another picking.  They may also be shaken from the tree onto a canvas or sheet of plastic or some other suitable material spread underneath the tree.
Wash fruit carefully.  Put in a large kettle and add 1 + 1 ½ times as much water as there is fruit.  Cook, covered, until pulp and skin will slip from the seeds when pressed with a potato masher (usually about 20-25 minutes).  Strain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth without pressing.  To the seeds and pulp remaining in the bag, add an equal amount of water and allow to cook for 15 minutes and strain.  This juice may be used for jelly making also.
Sea Grape Juice
To prepare juice, add 1 cup sugar to each quart of juice and boil for 5 minutes.  Seal in sterilized jars.  This juice may be used “as is” or combined with other fruit juice for a delicious punch.

  Sea Grape Jelly      

For each cup of juice, use 1 cup of sugar.  Place not more than 4 cups of juice in a large bottomed pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add sugar and stir until it is dissolved.  Boil rapidly to
228 degrees F. or until a clean silver fork dipped into the jelly will come out with the tines holding a solid film of jelly.  Allow to settle and pour into sterilized glasses.  Seal and store.
NOTE:  Lime juice in the amount of 1 tsp. to a cup of juice may be added to the grape juice in making jelly, if desired, for a different flavor.

  Sea Grape Jelly using Pectin    

4 cups juice
5 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
5 cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin

Place prepared juice in a large pan (6-8 quarts).  Turn to highest heat. Add lemon juice and entire contents of box of powdered pectin.  Stir to dissolve and continue stirring until mixture comes to a hard boil.  Add sugar.  Boil, stirring constantly until mixture sheets off the spoon or reaches

 224 degrees F. on a jelly thermometer.  Pour into hot, sterilized glasses and seal at once.