3 lb Black Beauty grapes
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
4 4-inch cinnamon sticks
4 whole star anise
2 Tahitian vanilla beans, halved
Prep your jars/lids. Pierce each grape with a fork*. Evenly divide the spices and grapes between 4 pint jars. Combine the water, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour brine over the grapes, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any bubbles. Seal and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 pints
Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.
*I actually used a two pronged cocktail spear.
My thoughts:I saw these beautiful Black Beauty grapes at the grocery store and had to have them! I didn't know exactly what type of grape "Black Beauty" was but when I looked it up it turned out it is a type of muscadine, which are a popular variety of grape in the South. Seedless, dark purple and pretty large; I thought they'd be perfect for pickling. Luckily, I was right! I pierced the slightly tough skin to ensure that the pickling liquid really penetrated. Since the grapes were on the sweet side, I really stepped up the spices with this recipe: whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and vanilla beans really pack a punch!
Try these grapes on their own, in a drink or part of a cheese plate.
Note: For best flavor, let these pickles sit one week before eating. Also, as with most pickles, if you do not want to process them to be shelf stable, you can let them come to room temperature and then refrigerate them.