Saturday, April 4, 2020

Pickled Grapes

Lucy thought the Beavers had a very snug little home … there were hams and strings of onions hanging from the roof ...

Excerpt from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis 

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the Beavers have a very well stocked house.  They seem to be prepared for anything, as is well shown by the original illustration that accompanies the text.  Their home is depicted as being piled from floor to ceiling with food and sewing equipment and tools.  It was just as well that the Beavers were well stocked, because Edmund's treachery meant that they and the remaining three Pevensi children had to leave hurriedly.  The Beavers were quickly able to fill sacks with tea, ham and bread for their escape from the White Witch.

At the moment, I feel a little like the Beavers, stocking up for a long period of social distancing as opposed to a long winter.  It does feel rather cosy and homey.  Although having a well stocked pantry is no defence  from COVID-19, it does mean that you are prepared if required to go into social isolation or further lockdowns.  I am lucky in that because I enjoy cooking and baking, my pantry has always been well stocked.  My mother also taught me to have plenty of provisions in the house, a habit that she learned from a childhood spent on a farm, subject to the ravages of drought and flood.  Her family grew their own fruits and vegetables and preserved and canned and bottled them in the good times to help them to deal with the hard times.  I can't grow my own fruits and vegetables as I don't have a garden, but I can still prepare in my own way.

On the subject of preserves, I recently saw Maggie Beer make pickled grapes on The Cook and The Chef.  I was intrigued, as I had never heard of pickling grapes before.  Maggie said that they are good on cheese platters or to go with meats.  I thought heck, I have to give them a try!

I found a recipe based on Maggie's recipe for pickled grapes on Morsels and Musings.  Armed with the ingredients, I made my own small batch of pickled grapes. They are indeed what they say on the tin - the sweetness of the grapes is combined with the sourness of the vinegar and the spiciness of the cinnamon and peppercorns.  Pickled grapes are honestly good enough to eat on their own, straight from the jar.

If you would like to make your own pickled grapes, you will need:

400g white seedless grapes, divided into small bunches
300ml white vinegar
100ml water
200g white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
12 black peppercorns

Put the vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Sterilise a large glass jar.  Remove the cinnamon sticks from the liquid, then place the bunches of grapes in the jar. Pour over the pickling liquid and screw the light of the jar on tighly.  Turn the jar upside down briefly to sterilise the lid of the jar.


Johanna GGG said...

Does this mean when people ask how we are going these days, we can say we are beavering away :-) I too always have a well stocked pantry though was relieved to get a big bag of flour a few weeks back so I can keep on baking. I am intrigued by the pickled grapes - might be a good way to preserve some when I am not getting through them. Maybe they would be good on a casserole!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Going out to the supermarket nowadays is something I have to work myself up for! I was surprised to see so many people at such close proximity and acting as though things were normal. I tried to stock up to limit the amount of times I have to go to the supermarket.

Cakelaw said...

Yep - we are beavering away!

Cakelaw said...

Yes, I am surprised at that too, though they may be scotched this week with limits on numbers in supermarkets.

Mae Travels said...

Everywhere in the world, the same challenges are facing us. Michigan where we live is one of the worst hit areas. My neighbor, a doctor, has volunteered to staff the field hospital that's being installed in one of the athletic facilities less than a mile from us. Another neighbor is immune-compromised, so even more threatened than the rest of us. We talk outdoors from a distance.

And like you have to think about organizing our food supplies. For you, it's harvest time so more logical to think about preserves -- here in early spring we may just start to get a few green leaves from hoop houses at local farms.

be well... mae at

Cakelaw said...

Hi Mae, yes, these are difficult times. Wishing you and your neighbours all the best.