Sunday, October 9, 2016

Grapes in Syrup

I bought a lot of fruit one shopping trip.  Then I got mild food poisoning from the cantaloupe and it kind of put me off the rest of it for a few days.  Yes, you can get ill from a melon, usually if the water used to grow it was not entirely clean.  Fortunately, I didn't have very much and figured out the cause of my tummy troubles on the second day.  I did hate to throw out the rest of it.

Meanwhile, the bag of grapes in the fridge was on the verge of spoiling and getting thrown out themselves.  There was no way I could finish them in time.  So, I went looking for grape recipes.

I know, that's not something you normally think of, a "grape recipe".  I found several in just my own cookbooks and never googled.  The Bible has one for marinated grapes, but they're still fresh and have to be eaten in a few days.  Out came the Ball book, and their simplest offering of canning whole grapes in syrup.  After all, canning was created to preserve foods for the long term if they couldn't be finished fresh.

Once I thought about it, those cans of fruit cocktail from the market mostly have peaches, pears, grapes, and cherries.  I already have canned cherries from earlier this year.  (I didn't post the recipe because it's basically the same as the nectarines.)While I was not about to peel two pounds of grapes, I can see myself having a mixed bowl of canned grapes and cherries over cottage cheese some day.

Like most of the recipes in the Ball book, you don't actually have to process can the grapes.  You can simmer them in the syrup for 15 minutes if they are going to be served in the next few days.  It's basically poached grapes, and there is no reason you couldn't add white wine to the syrup if you're just putting them in the fridge to use later in the day on some kind of dessert, perhaps jam tarts filled with lavender-lemon jam.

2 lbs seedless grapes
1 C sugar
2 C water

1.  Remove stems from grapes and place in acidulated water (fancy term for putting lemon juice in it first).  Measure the volume.  If canning, prepare jars for that yield and get your water boiling.  This step took me the longest of everything in this recipe.
2.  While the lids are heating and the jars are sterilizing, bring water and sugar to a low boil.  Continue to boil until all of the sugar is well dissolved, about 5 minutes.

3a, non-canning:  Drain grapes.  Pour into syrup and stir to coat.  Add a little more water (or 1/2 C white wine) if too dry.  Simmer for 15 minutes, until grapes have softened.  Store chilled in the syrup for up to 1 week.

3b, canning:  Ladle 1/2 C hot syrup into bottom of pint jars, 1/4 C for half-pints.  Raw-pack drained grapes to 1/2" from top.  Ladle more hot syrup over if needed, to generous 1/2" headspace.  Shake to settle and remove air bubbles.  Wipe rims, center lids, and screw on lids fingertip-tight.  Process 15 minutes for pint jars, 20 if you go crazy and do quarts.

For both methods, remember that the remaining syrup can be used to sweeten iced tea or adult drinks.  You could even put it in a hummingbird feeder.

Makes at least 2 pints

Difficulty rating  :)

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