A jar of pickled grapes was the first gift I ever gave the betrothed. We were only friends then, but in retrospect, I had a secret crush on him that I was desperately trying to squelch. But it was Christmas-time and what’s more platonic than a jar of fruit! To be fair, it was a bit of an experiment, as I had no idea how they would taste…and I didn’t have time to let them souse before gifting them. My version of living on the edge is gifting untasted foods. Since the (not then-)betrothed gave them the thumbs-up, I made them for the rest of my list. My family eyeballed them skeptically, as they’re wont to do w/ most of the things I offer them.
I liked recalling that bit of history as I made-up a new batch last night. Generally the research brain is concerned with the symbolic/emotional value of food, but yesterday I had the seep. Grapes matter!
In this batch, I used to some Penzey peppercorns that we got during last year’s Wisconsin trip…ya know, upping the symbolic weight of the grapes and whatnot. Wisconsin, incidentally, is pretty fabulous.
I decided to made only two pints, crazy since I generally enjoy producing massive amounts of things. Jury’s out on whether the small fry will like them, though he’s keen to try, as it’ll yield the much lauded ‘new food dance’.
Versions of this recipe have been posted all over the intertubes, just do a search for “pickled grapes”. The sort-of original is from an NPR piece by Molly Wizenberg from Orangette. Hers was a version of someone elses’…intertextuality, anyone?
Pickled Grapes (my version, based on the above sources)
1 lb red, black, and green grapes (seedless)
1 1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2 1/2 t. yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 t. Penzy mixed peppercorns (red/black/white/pink)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half the long way
1/2 t. salt
Clean and dry two pint jars, lids, and bands. These are a ‘quick pickle’ so no hot water bath required! Wash and dry the grapes, then pull them from stems. Slice off the “buttons” (stem ends).
Put the prepared grapes in the clean jars. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small pan. Bring to a boil. Pour hot syrup into jars, over the grapes. Seal’em up. I left mine on the counter overnight, then popped them in the fridge this morning. They’ll keep for a few weeks there, tho likely won’t last that long.
The issue now is that I’ve used a mere 1lb of the 6lbs of grapes I bought yesterday. What to do…