Yes, friends, I have been away for a while because I have been canning, pickling, and fermenting my life away. When the garden delivers great bounty, you have to find a way to preserve it before it all rots. Or at least use a controlled form of rot to preserve it. (Coming soon: my experience with sauerkraut, an example of controlled rot.)
Here’s a quick little pickle that you can use on grapes. I have pounds and pounds of grapes from my vine this year (variety Canadice, a N. American hybrid originally from New York State). Last year, I got nothing. This year brought great fruit set and my electric fence held the raccoons at bay. Without that fence, I’d have nothing again. Evil bastards, those raccoons.
These grapes are a wonderful condiment with grilled meats or on a cheese plate.
Quick Pickled Grapes
(makes about 4 cups)
3 cups seedless grapes (a mix of red and green is nice)
8 fat cloves of garlic, halved
1 1/2 cups natural rice vinegar (see Note) or white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 quarter-sized thick slices of fresh or frozen ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon medium-hot red pepper flakes (Aleppo or Korean)
Wash and stem the grapes. Place the grapes and garlic in a medium non-reactive bowl.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour over the grapes. Cover. Allow to pickle for at least 2 hours at room temperature. For longer storage, refrigerate in the brine for up to 2 weeks. Drain before serving.
Note: Natural rice vinegar has no sugar added. Many types of rice vinegar have sugar added because they are meant to make sushi rice. Since we are adding sugar, we don’t need the sugar in the vinegar.
Recipe from Nicole Routheir’s Fruit Cookbook by Nicole Routheir, Workman Publishing Company, 1996.
Photo credit: By Biberbaer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons