Monday, December 1, 2014

Spiced Black Pickled Grapes

"Gifts From the Heart", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). With Christmas and holidays, just round the corner, it's time for giving and sharing, and what better way than to gift with something homemade, made with warm thoughts straight from the heart. The first thing that I thought of, was to make some homemade jam. I love making jams and pickles, and was looking thru Diana Henry's recipes for jams. Found this pickle recipe instead, Spiced Black Pickled Grapes, which is rather interesting to me, as I have never eaten pickled grapes before. 

Spiced Black Pickled Grapes

Black grapes.
The brine : cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, and I've added a pinch of salt.

I have omitted the juniper berries for the brine, as I do not have any, (an ingredient I've been looking for ages!). Diana Henry has advised that any spices can be used, I have however decided to use just the black peppercorns and cinnamon stick. I've used a 500ml jar, and have used only 1 cup of cider vinegar and 1 cup of sugar, and have added a pinch of salt. The brine is made by bringing to a boil all the ingredients for the brine, then simmer for 4-5 minutes, let mixture cool completely.

Remove the grapes from the stems, wash, drain and dry the grapes. Place them into the jar, then pour the cooled brine to cover the grapes, and seal the jar. The grapes can be eaten immediately as advised by Diana Henry, but there is no difference in the taste of the grapes if they were eaten at this point, as the brine has not been absorbed by the grapes. Be patient, keep it for a few days before eating. I kept the jar in the refrigerator.

These pickled grapes are rather addictive! According to Diana Henry, she loves it best after they are pickled for 7 days. I made these less than a week ago, and the brine has not fully been absorbed into the grapes as yet. Though I think that I should wait to consume these at the end of a week, but a quarter jar has already gone! :) The grapes are crisp, sweet (they were naturally sweet!), and as you bite into one, the sweetness of the sugar, spices and sourness of the vinegar comes next. The next time I would use 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup, to make it less sweeter. And to speed up the pickling, I would prick a couple of holes in the grapes. If you like eating pickles, then you would love this! This would make a lovely gift for pickle lovers!

You will be wondering how to use this pickled grapes other than enjoying them as they are. Diana Henry has given some suggestions, "These are made for roast pork - belly or loin - and look fabulous in little branches served alongside slices of the sweet, fatty meat. But they are also very lovely with pates (and a smooth chicken liver parfait), terrines and most cheeses".
Yes, these pickled grapes would be lovely served alongside roasts at the dinner table this Christmas, or they would be great too if served as part of an appetizer.

Knowing myself, I would eat these pickled grapes as a snack, sneaking a few every so often, before they even reached the table! I'll be making these again, and will try with different spices. Love it!

Spiced Black Pickled Grapes
(adapted from "Salt Sugar Smoke" or here, Diana Henry)
3-2/3 cups (1lb 4oz) seedless black grapes
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white wine or cider vinegar
10 black peppercorns
10 juniper berries, bruised (did not use this)
1 small dried chilli (optional)
1/2 cinnamon stick
pinch of salt (my addition)

fills 1 (1-quart) jar

Instructions :
Pull sprigs of the grapes off the main stem. Put everything else into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Boil for about four minutes, then cool completely.
Wash and dry the grapes and put them into a warm sterilized jar. Pour over the vinegar and seal with a vinegar-proof lid. You can eat these immediately. The longer they are in the vinegar the more "pickled" the grapes will taste and the more wrinkled they become. They will keep for a year.

kitchen flavour's notes : I use about 450gm of black grapes and use only 1 cup cider vinegar and 1 cup sugar, which fills a jar of 500ml. Reduce the amount of sugar if a more sour pickle is preferred. (Note to self ; prick a few holes in the grapes to quicken the pickling process!)


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week "Gifts From The Heart"
grab button for I Heart Cooking Clubs

Cook & Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Bake For Happy Kids, Eat Your Heart Out and Domestic Goddess Wannabe.


  1. This sounds absolutely wonderful. I would love to try these. xo Catherine

  2. Joyce, I think I would love this pickled grapes a lot! Don't think it will last very long in my house hah..hah...

  3. I do love a sweet pickle like this! I have a jar of Diana Henry's pickled cherries that I keep dipping into.

  4. Hi Joyce, I'm rather 'suah gu' haven't tried pickled grapes or cherries .... But I think too that they are lovely served alongside roasts.

  5. Hi Joyce, if I am not mistaken there is juniper berries in Jaya Grocer in Intermark. Pickled grapes sounds yummy.

  6. Wow, Joyce!

    The flavours of these pickled grapes sounds sweet, sour and surprising!!! This will be a very special Xmas gift.


  7. I've never even thought of pickling grapes, but these sound lovely! Grapes are easy to come by in the grocery at any time of year. I can see where they would be addictive! :)

  8. OMG! I never thought in pickling interesting this recipe time buying grapes I must give this recipe a try...sounds awesome!
    Have a great week ahead :)

  9. 've never even thought of pickling grapes either, Joyce. These sound really appetizing and tasty.

  10. Pickled grapes are new to me but they sound delicious Joyce. I don't blame you for snacking on them!

  11. the way you describe it makes my mouth water up.. sounds like a perfect bite when i travel in the plane

  12. What a great choice - I just love the sound of these, Joyce, and they look so pretty too. I bet green grapes would be lovely too. I'm think a bowl of these to accompany our Christmas ham would be delicious, and I love the sound of them with pate as well.

  13. Love the idea of them sitting on a cheese board at New Years ... and the Spanish have that tradition of eating a dozen grapes at midnight ... hmm.