Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
My pal Monica finds the best recipes on line. Here is a new fave I love to throw into salads or eat with cheese. Monica found this at Smitten Kitchen, where Deb tells us she adapted it from a recipe in A Homemade Life, where it was adapted from a Susan Kaplan recipe. Here's how Monica (and I) modified it even more:

1 pound red or black grapes, preferably seedless
1/2 cup apple cider or rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 (2 1/2-inch) cinnamon stick, cut in half (if using two jars, otherwise leave whole)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse and dry the grapes, and pull them carefully from their stems. Using a small sharp knife, trim away the tops at the stem end of the grape exposing a bit of the flesh inside. Divide the grapes among 2 pint-sized clean, dry canning jars.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then you can either pour the bring mixture over the grapes and let them cool together, or let the brine cool completely before pouring it over the grapes. Warm brine will infuse its flavors faster, but the grapes "cook" a little and get softer. I like it better with the cooled brine, the grapes stay crisp. (Either way is yummy, and since I eat them practically right away it really doesn't matter.)

Once cool, chill the grape and brine mixture in their jars in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight, if you can wait that long! Makes about 3 cups.