Pickled Flames and Thompsons

September 19, 2014

Pickeled Grapes 4Like life, a charcuterie plate needs variety and balance, yes?  Smooth, bumpy, strong, mellow.  Savory and spicy.  A little tartness to help you appreciate the sweet.  Pickled Flames and Thompsons, marinated grapes, add the zing to cheese and meat plates.  They’re bright with unexpected flavors, and jostle your taste buds.

Two versions are provided below.  The first is flavored with fresh tarragon in a just slightly sweet pickling solution – a welcome with pâté and mild cheese offerings.  Both red flame and Thompson Seedless grapes work in this formula.  The second version soaks red flames in a sweet-sour liquid accented with pickling spices and a hint of vanilla.  No taste fatigue here!

Prepping grapesPrepare grapes by destemming, washing and drying them individually.  Then, trim off a sliver of the globe from the stem end to allow the soaking solution to better penetrate.  Discard the cut off pieces.

Pickled Grapes 2Fill jars with pickling solution.  Cool at room temperature, cap and refrigerate.

Pickled Grapes Charcuterie

Recipe: Pickled Grapes

The quantities below make one 8-ounce jar of quick-pickled grapes.  The grapes should be floating in the pickling solution to ensure even coverage.

Ingredients

  • firm seedless table grapes such as red flames or Thompson seedless
  • Tarragon Pickle
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon non-iodized salt
  •  2 sprigs fresh tarragon, about 4 inches long each
  • Spice Pickle
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2″ cinnamon stick
  • 1-2 whole cloves
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns
  • pinch mustard seeds
  • 1″ piece vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Rinse grapes well, dry with a clean towel, and destem. Cut off the very tops of grapes (pictured above) to allow flavors to penetrate. Jars and lids should be very clean and dry.
  2. Tarragon pickle: in a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Place one tarragon sprig into bottom of jar and add half of grapes. Tuck in the second tarragon sprig and fill with grapes 1/2″ to 3/4″ from top of jar. Fill with hot pickling solution to cover grapes plus a little more; grapes should be floating in the solution.
  3. Spice pickle: in a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and water; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Place the spices at the bottom of the jar and fill jar with grapes allowing about 3/4″ head space. Fill with hot pickling solution to cover grapes plus a little more; grapes should be floating in the solution.
  4. Cool filled jars, cap and label with date. Pickled grapes are ready after 48 hours and can be kept for up to two weeks refrigerated.

Fills one 8 ounce jar.

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