pickled grapes with cinnamon & black pepper

On April 13, 2009 @ 11:00 am

I thought since we started the day with a review of Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life [1], it would be rather fitting to explore one of the many wonderful recipes from the book. One of the things I really liked about reading it was that it has had the unexpected result of making me want to try things that I’ve never had the urge to try. First it was the cauliflower [2] and now I’m pickling something. I have a whole list of things that give me shivers and anything pickled is definitely on it. But lately I’ve been broadening my horizons, even going so far as to drink bloody marys (with pickle juice!), so I thought pickled grapes could be a sort of “toe in the water” experimentation with pickling.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m a big fan of grapes. The recipe is pretty dang simple. Perhaps the most time consuming this is cutting the “belly button” off the grapes, but it’s pretty mindless so it’s not a big whoop. You simple boil some white wine vinegar with a cinnamon stick, sugar, black pepper and mustard seeds and you’re pretty much on your way. Add that to the grapes and you’ve got yourself pickled grapes. It’s that easy.

After letting them sit in the refrigerator for a day or two I pulled them out to give them a try and I have to say, they’re pretty good. I’m not a huge mustard seed fan so I cut down the amount of seeds I put in the recipe and I think it was the perfect amount for my taste. I can definitely see why they’re in there because the add a nice rounded flavor to the grapes, but I feel like anything more would have been a little heavy on the mustard side. They are nice and sweet with hints of cinnamon and pepper shining through. I think they would make a great snack for a cocktail or dinner party.

pickled grapes with cinnamon & black pepper
makes about 3 cups
A Homemade Life

1 lb red or black grapes, seedless
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds*
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse and dry the grapes and pull them from the stem.
Use a small, sharp knife to trim away the “belly button” at the stem end of the grapes, exposing a bit of the flesh inside. Put the grapes in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then pour the mixture over the grapes. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
While the grapes cool, wash 2 pint size canning jars and their lids in warm, soapy water. When the grapes are cool, ladle them into the jars. Chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Serve cold.

These will last up to 2 weeks.

*I reduced the amount of mustard seeds to 1 teaspoon.

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