Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spiced Zante Grapes

(Recipe adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.)

1 lb. Zante grapes (or other ripe, tiny grapes)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
A few allspice berries
1 bay leaf (Turkish, not Californian, which tastes medicinal)

1. Wash and dry the grapes, then cut into small clusters. Leave naturally "raisined" fruit on the stem, as they will take the brine well and further raisin. Place fruit in wide jars with shoulders to keep the clusters in the brine.
2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, wine, allspice, and bayleaf in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring for about 1 minute.
3. Allow the brine to cool, then pour over the grapes. Seal and store in the refrigerator at least 1 week before using (keeps indefinitely).

This recipe makes 2 pints

Note: For the best quality pickles, use a fine Champagne vinegar and Muscovado sugar, which is a higher-quality version of brown sugar (the cane is grown in volcanic ash on Mauritius):