September 20, 2010

Spiced pickled grapes

OK, I know what you are thinking - pickled grapes?? But, trust me, they are good. They are full of sweet and tangy syrupy goodness with just a little kick of spice (from mustard seeds, black pepper, and cinnamon). I first saw pickled grapes last winter on this blog post. I immediately bookmarked it, swearing that I would try it as soon as grapes were back in season. Usually I forget about most of the stuff I bookmark for a long time (or forever). But not these soon as I saw grapes at the farmer's market over the weekend, I was buying them up and rushing home to make these (just hoping that I had all the ingredients when I got there). Well, I had most of them, except for the white wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar in its place. They were still yummy. I think they would be better with a slightly firmer grape, but these were the only grapes available. I'll definitely make them again once more grapes are available.

This will make about three cups (enough to fill two pint-sized jars).

Spiced pickled grapes
1 lb of red or black grapes (firm and seedless would probably be optimal, but whatever you have will work)
1 cup white wine (or apple cider) vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash and dry the grapes and canning jars/lids. Carefully pluck each grape from the stems. You may choose to slice off the stem end of your grapes so that the pickling liquid and spices penetrate well. I recommend only doing this if your grapes are very firm. I found that when I removed the grapes from the stem, it left a nice whole in the grape and often broke the skin, so I did not cut them. Divide the grapes among the two jars.

In a medium saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture come to a boil and cook for about 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat. You can pour the brine right over the grapes (which will yield a softer fruit) or let it cool and then poor it over the grapes (which will yield a firmer fruit). I poured it over after it had cooled. Make sure you get half of the cinnamon stick in each jar. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before eating.

Try these grapes as a snack along with some cheese, crackers/bread, and wine. 


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