Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pickled Grapes - Easy

Okay, let's play "Family Feud!" Think of something that is pickled.

Cucumbers! (good answer, good answer!)

Peppers! (right! yeah!)

Watermelon rind! (ooh, forgot about that one!)

Grapes ...

Pickled grapes???

I don't recall how my co-worker and I originally segued into the discussion, but she starts to tell me about pickled grapes she tried at a party one weekend.

The idea of pickled grapes sounded very weird to me, and I'm willing to try almost anything once. Except mint. Don't ever bring mint near me. You will never see a recipe with mint on my blog, nosiree. And when I have to take medicine with mint in it, arrgghhhh!

... but I digress ...

My co-worked insisted that they taste so good, after you try one, you want to grab the bowl, plop yourself down in the nearest corner and sit cross-legged, stuffing the entire batch into your mouth, growling at anyone who dares to come near you.

She didn't really say that. But she did say they are very addicting.

So she recommended the version found in Simple Fresh Southern by the Lee Brothers.

It is VERY easy, even if it has 8 ingredients including water and salt. The hardest part is removing the stems from all the grapes. It's not mentioned, but I would add the extra step to wash and inspect those grapes before using. And before you consider substituting apple cider vinegar for the white because you think its flavor will enhance the final product (as I thought), it won't, so don't.

Also, be sure to use kosher salt. The fine granulation of table salt will cause you to use more NaCl than you need, which will totally wreck the recipe.

The recipe says to chill for one hour before serving, but I think that they taste better if left longer, at least one day.

I used one large mixing bowl with a plastic wrap cover to substitute for the 3 pint containers with lids. The book says that the pickled grapes are supposed to keep for 2 weeks, but since they will be long gone before then, fancy jars are only necessary if you are giving them away as gifts. If you can bare to part with them.

Pickled Grapes with Rosemary and Chiles
adapted from Simple Fresh Southern
makes 1 1/2 quarts

2 lbs. mixed red and green seedless grapes (about 6 cups), stems removed
2 cups distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tbl. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled (or 3 tsp. chopped garlic from a jar)
Leaves from 1 four-inch long sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. crushed dried red chile flakes

Pack grapes into 3 pint-size glass containers with lids and set aside.

Pour the vinegar and water into a saucepan and mix in the salt, sugar, garlic, rosemary, and chile flakes.  Heat over medium-high flame.  When the mixture starts to simmer, remove pan from heat and carefully divide hot mixture among the prepared pints of grapes.

Cover loosely and let cool to room temperature. Then cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

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