Refrigerator pickled grapes make a great accompaniment to a cheese plate or a salad, or can be eaten simply as a midafternoon snack. They're aromatic and sweet, with a hint of savory mustard undertones; you'll want to have them always on hand.
Make Ahead: The grapes are not processed using a regular canning method, but they need to be refrigerated 1 to 2 days before serving. Once opened, the pickled grapes can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Yield: Makes 6 half-pints
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons brown or yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 star anise, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 pounds (2 bunches) red seedless grapes, washed, dried and carefully stemmed
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
Fill a large saucepan or stockpot halfway with water and heat over medium heat until the water is barely bubbing. Place 6 half-pint jars in the water. (Filling the jars with water from the saucepan will keep them from floating.) Keep the jars hot until ready for use. (You may also use a dishwasher to wash and heat the jars.)
Place the jar lids and rings in a large saucepan. Cover them with water and heat over medium heat until the water is barely bubbling. Keep the lids hot until you are ready to use them. Do not boil the lids.
Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seed, peppercorns, star anise and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mix well; once the liquid begins to bubble at the edges, turn off the heat. Cool to room temperature.
Use tongs to remove the jars from the water. Dry them.
Divide the grapes and the cinnamon sticks among the jars.
Fill the jars with the cooled brine, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims clean. Screw on the lids until they are just snug.
Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before serving.
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life" (Simon & Schuster, 2009).
Tested by Carol Blymire.
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