Friday, February 19, 2010

Not Just Cucumbers

Sauce Magazine is a great culinary and entertainment magazine in the St. Louis area. Their tagline is "dine, drink, and live well". The free magizine comes out monthly, and I always look forward to seeing the newest issue.

Last October, they had an article about pickling vegetables and fruits; it included a recipe for pickled grapes that sounded really interesting, and I decided to try it. However, by time I'd acquired all the spices, grapes were out of season and expensive. I wasn't going to spend a lot of money to try a recipe I didn't even know that I'd care for, so I filed the page for future reference.

This week I found a sale on grapes, so I pulled out the recipe and got to work:
4 cups stemmed red seedless grapes
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. finely minced red onion
2 tsp. yellow whole mustard seeds
3 3-inch sticks Ceylon cinnamon, broken into large pieces

• Wash the grapes, then score the skin at the stem end. Place the grapes in a nonreactive mixing bowl.

• In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, onion and mustard seeds and bring to a boil. Add the cinnamon sticks and simmer over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the hot syrup over the grapes and allow to cool to room temperature.

• Remove the cinnamon sticks and distribute them in four containers or jars with lids. Ladle the grapes into the containers, making sure to cover them with the liquid. Place in the refrigerator and allow the flavors to blend for at least 8 hours.
I decided to cut the recipe in half, in case no one liked it. (I hate to throw food away!) My grapes were on the smallish side, so scoring the skin of even two cups took a while. Everything else went smoothly, though. I poured the finished product into a bowl large enough to hold the grapes in one layer and put it into the refrigerator. Several hours later I tried one. It was good, but still needed some more time in the brine. I moved the pickles to a smaller container and let them sit for another day.

This morning I tasted one, and I was impressed. The grapes were firm, the syrupy vinegar gave them a sweet-tart taste, and the onion and mustard seed gave them a little kick. Tony acquiesced to taste one. Although he's not a sweet pickle fan, he gave it a polite ok.

I think pickled grapes would be great served with cheese (maybe speared on a toothpick with a cube of cheddar as an appetizer) , nuts, or salami. Or eaten a few at a time out of the refrigerator. I've done that more than once today, and the container's almost half empty...


  1. Ooooh - sounds good! Congratulations :-)

  2. Wow...I've never heard of a pickled grape! Very interesting...I bet you're right...good with cheese and crackers! It think they sound good!

  3. I've never heard of pickled grapes, either. Sounds interesting.

  4. Sounds like an acquired taste... I'm game!